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I like to see it lap the Miles

I like to see it lap the Miles


by Emily Dickinson

Lines 8-12 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 8-10

And then a Quarry pare 

To fit its Ribs
And crawl between

  • Now the train "crawls" through a narrow tunnel or passage in the mountainous terrain.
  • Some of the words here are a bit strange, so we'll help you out.
  • "Pare" is a word you've probably heard before. Ever used a "paring knife" to "pare" (cut) up a piece of fruit?
  • "Quarry" is a place where stone is cut from the ground.
  • "Ribs" seems to be a metaphor for the train tracks—can't you picture the resemblance?
  • "Paring" a "quarry" makes it sound as though the thing slices through rock as effortlessly as a knife through an apple. 
  • Of course, it probably wasn't quite that easy to cut away the rocks for the train. But you get the idea.

Lines 11-12

Complaining all the while
In horrid — hooting stanza —

  • The mystery creature whines horribly as it moves through the rock, making a loud ruckus.
  • What did we tell you about the personification in this poem? By describing it as "complaining," the speaker gives the train even more personality.
  • Check out the use of the word "stanza." It makes us think of stanzas of poetry, which have a rhythmic quality. It seems like the horrible sounds coming from this thing are rhythmic, too.

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