Study Guide

I like to see it lap the Miles Tough-o-Meter

By Emily Dickinson


(4) Base Camp

Though this poem may seem kooky and confusing on a first reading (as it's supposed to – after all, it's a riddle), it's actually pretty straightforward, as Dickinson poems go. Compared to her more abstract poems, this one is kind of a walk in the park…even if it's more of a brisk power walk. All of the sly clues the speaker gives us help us arrive at the riddle's answer, and once we get past the initial puzzle and discover that the "animal" she's talking about is a train, everything falls into place, like well-fitted rails on a track.

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