By Omar Bihimdine
By Omar Bihimdine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, March 14, 2012
A long time ago, I used to write only articles and sometimes short stories. But I never thought of writing poems one day even though I had so much cherished this genre of writing more than any other kind. Only when I read “a Bird Came down the Walk” by Emily Dickinson and enjoyed it so much did I make my mind to join poetry and write poems like any other poet.
Since then, I have always taken the greatest delight in doing so. At first, I was told by my professors that writing poems is so demanding a task and needs more life experiences and wide travelling than we think. However, having read Dickinson many times has totally changed this misconception and ultimately led me to take the initiative.
The poem has become a turning point in my literary life. Here, I will try to interpret it line by line. We all know that Dickinson as a poetess was known to have been reclusive and home-ridden. My point here is that contrary to popular belief, we do not need many experiences or to travel the world to become poets. All that we are in need of is to develop a keen observation of any object, and fortunately no one can deny that everyone has got a certain amount of it.
Alone, the poetess in question once sat alone beholding different things out of her window. All of a sudden, she saw a little bird coming down the walk next to her house. Not having any contact with people and not travelling the world before, Dickinson usually seized such opportunities so as to write a new poem on the scene being observed. She was always in dire need of the material and despite that she always came up with really fine poems.
Amongst her best poems is this one here. The fact that she was able to write poems without any previous experiences is living proof that anyone can write poems on condition that he or she observes anything keenly enough. Also, reading widely was of paramount important to her writing career as a poetess. Some people might think that life experiences are a must in order to write fine poems. For me, wide reading in any language and keen observation would suffice. Then, through poetry, anyone can openly express himself about different aspects of life. This is why I have so far written mainly poems.
Coming back to how the poetess imparted crucial aspects of nature and life just through a little bird, she described every single step of the latter. In the poem, the bird perched on the ground, looked both sides to ensure he was safe, ate a worm, and drank some dew drops.
Then, a beetle was passing by him; the bird immediately gave the beetle some space to pass with ease. Here, we come to know how small animals and insects lead their own lives and whether they respect each other or not. Of course, the poetess is alluding to us human beings who should respect one another and live and let live as the saying goes.
Observing the manner in which she wrote a poem on a very appealing theme” that of the bird with the worm and the beetle”, I was inspired and spurred on to do the same. There are many living organisms like a moth, a fly, or mosquito that we come across on a regular basis, but seldom do they attract attention to us. Since I read this poem, everything has begun to enthrall me. One day, I wrote two poems. One is entitled ‘the moth’ and another one, ‘the bird’. Of course, I took pains to write them because I related them to my personal life.
Different motives were behind putting pen to paper when I chose the moth and the bird as the themes. The first one was whilst reading and a moth was fluttering its wings against the light bulb. My concentration was exacerbated by that behavior to the extreme. Here, I am hinting at people who cause me or other novice writers in one way or another to abandon the reading pursuit. As for the birds, they perched on my windowpane serving as spies to take back my latest news to others. I did not welcome them either. For me, they are simply amongst my regular guests who pay me visits from time to time just to see how my room furniture is laid.
In Dickinson’s poem, the bird took fright when he heard her. She wanted to feed him with a crumb, but he shook his feathers, carefree and conceited and flew off on the spot. He was the only solace to her for a very short time, but she learnt a great deal from him. In the same way, I believe that we do not need to go abroad to attend poetry workshops or to study it at university to be great poets. One has only to read widely to master a language and start to write on everything, be it a human being, an animal, or living organisms in general; the latter teach us many moral lessons about their lives and our own.
Towards the end of the poem, the poetess discovered a queer fact about the bird. The latter is capable of flying over the water without making any splashes or noise. Afterwards, she added that when rowing in the water, he is totally different from oars and butterfly leaps in that the latter make so much noise which may disturb her creativity. What a vivid description! What a keen sensation of the movements of a flying bird! I must admit that this is mainly the point at which and where I fell passionately in love with poetry.