Emily Dickinson's poem "I Like to see it lap the Miles-"

Essay by don_whalenUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2003

download word file, 1 pages 3.0

Downloaded 84 times
Keywords , , , ,

Emily Dickinson's poem "I Like to see it lap the Miles-"

ostensibly is a poem depicting two modes of transportation; a

train as characterized by a horse. While this is conclusive

Dickinson also appears to be using the poem to state another mode

of transportation: poetry.

Feelings about poetry are expressed in line three, "And stop

to feed itself at Tanks-", poetry feeds the mind, which feeds the

world. In other words poetry becomes self-generating and in doing

so threatens one's control. Dickinson regains control by passing

through the expected end-stop of line four and illustrates the

form breaking strength of a poetry to "feed itself", and to gaze

with arrogant hatred at the poor "Shanties- by the sides of

Roads-", the pretentious representative world it passes, which,

since it resembles established form, is unable to limit or

threaten it.

Lines nine and ten, "To fit its Ribs And crawl between",

visualizes a shape and this shape belongs to the poem.

Paring a

shape "To fit its Ribs" demands more space and must break normal

stanzaic verse. Dickinson accomplishes this, and, in doing so,

allows the poem to determine its own form. The poem itself

complains and twists this new form "In horrid-hooting stanza-",

but then chases itself, with new self-generation, to escape "down


Dickinson regains control, not that she ever really lost it,

in the last stanza and shows that a poem is always punctual, and

will return one right back to where one began.

To summarize, Dickinson not only gives us a poem depicting a

train as characterized by a horse, she gives us a poem about

poetry. She shows us that although poetry may not necessarily

possess a conventional form, it will emerge a subject, pare its

shape, give us music in the...