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Friday, August 01, 2014

Poetry Friday--Welcome August!

August is here and summer is drawing to a close as far as students are concerned. Still the weather is warm and there's lots of opportunity for non-students to get outside!

Emily Dickinson certainly found much to enjoy in August! I hope you'll enjoy this record of her summer garden and the goings-on to be found there (who wouldn't enjoy the nonjudgmental phrasing of the first stanza?)
A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad,--
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, splashless, as they swim.

Found in Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson [811 DIC].

I wasn't exactly sure what an angle-worm was, but I thought it might be an inchworm since they often look as their bent bodies are at an sngle. However, I found this definition from Dictionary.com:

noun Chiefly Northern, North Midland, and Western U.S.
an earthworm, as used for bait in angling.

That makes perfect sense. But then I had to look up the term "angling"! It appears to be a very old word and has as its root the Old English angel, angul meaning hook.

Fly on down to Louisiana where Margaret at Reflections on the Teche is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Photo by Eric Begin.


  1. Thanks for sharing this charming Emily Dickinson poem today and for looking up the tough words. I want to teach my students that we don't have to understand each word in a poem to appreciate it.

    1. So right, Margaret. I just happen to be fascinated by words and their histories.

  2. Quite the observer, that Emily. Spent most of yesterday shopping for back to school. I'd rather have examined the habits of birds, I think.

    1. I agree! It's too early to start thinking about fall clothes.

  3. "And then he drank a dew" - so like Emily to observe something as minute as one dew drop.

    1. I never thought of dew as being something you could break down into drops!