I like to see it lap the Miles —
And lick the Valleys up —
And stop to feed itself at Tanks —
And then — prodigious step

Around a Pile of Mountains —
And supercilious peer
In Shanties — by the sides of Roads —
And then a Quarry pare

To fit its Ribs
And crawl between
Complaining all the while
In horrid — hooting stanza —
Then chase itself down Hill —

And neigh like Boanerges —
Then — punctual as a Star
Stop — docile and omnipotent
At its own stable door —

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem I like to see it lap the Miles —


  1. me455 says:

    At first read I thought the horse was metaphor for the sun moving east to west, sundown = (docile and omnipotent at it own stable door) or peer shanties …
    Second read it became clear that the poem is retelling the delighted experience of seeing a train move through the viewer’s landscape. This is, of course naivety. The iron horse would mercilessly open the west, further decimate native people, kill of the buffalo … Like most technology, a Pandora’s box of good and bad.

  2. Cs says:

    I’m just wondering,why on the 1st stanza the horse image is projected to be unmoved to picture the train’s movement in the middle of its journey. and why the final stanza utilizing simile instead of metaphor as it is on the previous lines.is there any special effect that want to be achieved?i think so, notes the metaphor ‘in horrid-hooting stanza’. How the word ‘stanza’ been directly attached to the horse/train image when there is nothing about stanza/poem has been introduced before? i feel the poem production process in this poem.

  3. A Junior in High school says:

    This poem is obviously describing the train as an “iron horse” you idiots.

  4. Abi says:

    Ok, seriously people, this poem is obviously about the ocean. My proof? “I like to see it LAP the Miles” hello? Lap, as in the waves lapped against the shore? I rest my case.

  5. Sarah says:

    In my opinion, this poem isnt quite poetry. but it does use iambic tetrameter and it has imagery and symbolism and personification. So you believe what you want.. but im my opinion, poetry means something more than just, “industrialization is good.” Poetry should come from the heart about something close to the heart, and let me tell you, with emily dickinson’s history, technology isnt exactly the closest thing to her heart.

  6. ea says:

    It’s definitely a train. Feeds itself at tanks, quarry pares where it fits its ribs (this is a tunnel through rock in a moutainside) and hooting downhill with its whistle. It does also remind me of how a poet feels when they write a good poem, too, though. I imagine Emily identified with the power of the iron horse. (locomotive)

  7. Melissa says:

    The poem is about her observing a train. Because during her time trains were a huge new trend and it amazed people at the technological advancements being made. So naturally she is going to praise it.

  8. shelby says:

    I thought it was a great poem it has a type of simplistic tune that you do not see very often with Emily Dickinson 2 thumbs way upppp

  9. harsh says:

    Could it be possible that “it” maybe a river or a fast flowing body of water…somehow?

  10. Caitlin says:

    I don’t understand how anyone in their right mind could say they like this poem or Emiy Dickinson’s poetry for that matter. Robert Frost was a poet she was just someone writing confusing pieces without any real meaning. Basically I think her and her poetry sucks and I hate that it was assigned to me in College. If anyone is offended by this message to bad its my opinion GO HUG A TREE!

  11. jocelyn周 says:

    I was required to do some reserch on this poem.By the way,it really impressed me deeply!

  12. rachael says:

    this is one of my favorite poems. when i read it i thought it was a horse but when i looked more closely i discovered that is was more likely a personification of a train. who actually knows but emily? great images and word choices. awesome poem.

  13. Cindy says:

    Emily Dickinson is a very clever woman. “it” could be the wind, a train, a horse. it has many possibilities

  14. Anna Lissa Aquino says:

    The poem is is simple as it is. But its simplicity of comparison amuses me because the author is able to use figurative language at its best!

  15. Hannah Rachnid says:

    This is such a good poem!!!

  16. Jackie Castaneda says:

    “I Like to See It Lap the Miles” compares a train to a horse. The narrator enjoys watching and is amazed at “it”. The portrayer doesn’t like it when “it”

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