The Railway Train

Original Text: 
Poems (1890-1896) by Emily Dickinson: A Facsimile Reproduction of the Original Volumes Issued in 1890, 1891, and 1896, with an Introduction by George Monteiro (Gainesville, Florida: Scholars' Facsimiles).
2And lick the valleys up,
3And stop to feed itself at tanks;
4And then, prodigious, step
5Around a pile of mountains,
6And, supercilious, peer
7In shanties, by the sides of roads;
10Complaining all the while
12Then chase itself down hill
14Then, punctual as a star,
15Stop--docile and omnipotent--
16At its own stable door.


1] In 1853 two railroad lines came to Amherst, Emily's home (Johnson, Poems [1963], I: xx). Back to Line
8] a quarry pare: peel or shave (the sides of) the quarry Back to Line
9] sides: the existing manuscript version of poem 585 reads "ribs" The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson, edited by R. W. Franklin in volumes (Cambridge, Mass., and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1981: I, 414; fascicle 19; PS 1541 A1 1981 ROBA). Back to Line
11] stanza: small poem Back to Line
13] Boanerges: Mark 3. 17 describes how Jesus named his disciplines, the brothers James and John, "Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder" Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997