Explication and analysis of Emily Dickinson poetry


I like to see it lap the Miles is a short poem written by Emily Dickinson. This essay is going to discuss the Explication and the analysis of this poem. Emily correlates two forms of transportation of her time with a figurative and sound device. The imagery usage by Dickinson helps the reader to create intense images as well as sounds that are similar towards what the speaker of the poem is experiencing (Abad 89). The speaker is watching a train but describes it like a horse. The comparison seems to be apparent since the behavior of the “horse” only stops to feed. Besides one moment that it stops to refuel, the entire poem only talks about how the “Horse” is running nonstop. It is described being a “promoter than a star” meaning it is quick and efficient. The implication is that the train can transport goods or people readily like the horse used to do before the invention of the train. The train is the new invention during the time of the narrator.

The poem contains figurative language like hyperbole and personification. For example, the train is stopping in order to feed itself at the tank; it is licking the valleys up, and also making prodigious steps.. Emily uses hyperbole in “prompter than a star” in order for the audience to visualize the image of the speed of the train that is traveling fast like the star. The sound devices in the poem are the alliteration, onomatopoeia, and consonance. The onomatopoeia in the poem aids the reader in understanding the imaging of the shouting of the Boanerges. The consonance keeps the flow of the song and also emphasizing the words by repeating letter “s.” All this makes the poem more creative (Priddy and Bloom 185).

For the successful creation of the descriptive images, the poem uses figurative and sound devices. The continuous comparison between the train and the horse was auspiciously done with the persistent use of onomatopoeia and personification. Each literary device used in the poem was utilized very gainfully by effectively showing the readers that the train and the horse are being compared.

In analyzing about Dickinson’s “I like to see it lap the Miles,” first we ought to understand that the poem is in the form of a riddle. An essay about a poem like this would mostly start with an explication of what the poem “means”. Hence, it ought to be done following the line-by-line analysis. By so doing, the riddle in the poem is easily solved.

The starting line of the poem introduces a narrator “I” who is not known. The subject “it” is also introduced and is unidentified. Following the deeds of “it”, it is easy to ascertain its identity. In the first line, it “laps” the miles, which is a seemingly animalistic thing to do that is devouring or rather drinking the miles. The metaphor continues to manifest in the next line, as it will also “lick the Valleys up”. At this particular time, what seems to be proposed is the swift move of an animal. On surveying on line three through seven, the train is depicted making prodigious steps whereby it is stopping so that it can refuel itself to be enabled climb along the mountains which are piled. It is now clear that what is being revealed is something different from an animal. It is large; its movements not only do the “lapping” and “Lick” over very vast miles, but also can “step” around mountains. By now, we have an idea that Dickinson is presenting us with an imaginative view of a train, although one may wish to follow variant readings creative (Priddy and Bloom 185).

.           Following the actions of the train, one comes to an understanding that the subject of the poem is about the “iron horse” of the first railways. In stanza three, it appears that the train has pared a quarry “to fit its Ribs” which might be thought to be its tracks. As it tours between them, the train is “complaining all the while, In Horrid hooting stanza “. In this case, Dickinson suggests the great whistle of the train and the noise. The poem continues to journey along together with the train and increases its speed as it approaches its ending destination (Dickinson, Mesmer, and Wolff 57).

The narrator adores surveillance the train roaming from side to side of the state making her imagine that it is a type of a giant horse character, moving fast and far licking up the countryside. She believes that the train is feeding itself at thanks in an ostensibly way, by either filling with new passengers at the stations or being refueled.

There is a significance use of the riddle in this poem “I like to see it lap the Miles.” it emphasizes the disconnection between this enigmatic creature from the natural domain that it subsists combinable with emulates. Dickinson gives the train action in the poem whereby it laps, it crawls, it licks, it feeds alone, it shows emotions, it is supercilious, it complains. In so doing, she isn’t complicating the riddle, rather creates an implicit comparison between all creatures of the natural world that do feed on themselves, complain, crawl and this train. By doing the description by comparing it to the natural world language, she creates a striking connection between the world and that train (Eissinger 78).

On the analysis of the topics and strategies in this poem, Dickinson tries to address a new technology forthrightly. The obvious theme portrayed is the effect the new technology might have on the landscape, the animal, and the people it will supplant. The other less obvious theme is on how the senses ought to be used in order to understand something that is totally new (Dickinson, Mesmer, and Wolff 57). The reader has an obligation of understanding that the subject of the poem is a train by hearing and seeing it, rather than being told directly.

Works Cited

Abad, Gemino H. In Another Light: Poems and Essays. Quezon City: U of the Philippines P, 1976. Print.

Dickinson, Emily, Edric Mesmer, and Virginia E. Wolff. I’m Nobody! Who Are You?: Poems by Emily Dickinson. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2002. Print.

Eissinger, Richard A. Library Instruction for the 21st Century: A Special Loex-of-the-West Theme Issue ; Plus Library Instruction and Information Literacy 1997. Ann Arbor: Pierian Press, 1998. Print.

Priddy, Anna, and Harold Bloom. Bloom’s How to Write About Emily Dickinson. New York: Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2008. Print.

Solotaroff, Ted, and Nessa Rapoport. The Schocken Book of Contemporary Jewish Fiction. New York: Schocken Books, 1996. Print.


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