Attention! Some of this material is not in the public domain.
It is illegal to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material without permission. It is also illegal to reprint copyright texts or translations without the name of the author or translator.
To inquire about permissions and rates, contact Emily Ezust at
If you wish to reprint translations, please make sure you include the names of the translators in your email. They are below each translation.
Note: You must use the copyright symbol © when you reprint copyright-protected material.
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 [sides]1, 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.
About the headline (FAQ)View original text (without footnotes)
1 Getty, Perle: "ribs"
- by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886), no title, appears in Poems by Emily Dickinson, first published 1891 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Gordon Getty (b. 1933), "I like to see it lap the miles" [soprano and piano], from The White Election - A Song Cycle for soprano and piano on 32 poems of Emily Dickinson, Part 3 : Almost Peace, no. 19. [ sung text verified 1 time]
- by George Perle (1915 - 2009), "I like to see it lap the miles", 1977 [voice and piano], from Thirteen Dickinson Songs, no. 2. [ sung text verified 1 time]
- by William Keith Rogers (b. 1921), "I like to see it lap the miles", published 1948 [SATB chorus a cappella], from Three Songs from Emily Dickinson, no. 2. [ sung text not verified ]
- by Adolf Weiss (1891 - 1971), "The railway train", 1928, published c1930 [soprano and string quartet], from Seven Songs for Soprano and String Quartet, no. 3. [ sung text not verified ]
Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 84
Gern seh ich, wie sie Meilen frisst und leckt die Täler auf und hält an Tanks, Wasser zu ziehn; hernach - gewalt’ger Schritt umfährt sie Berg und Hügel, hochnäsig blickt sie dann in Hütten längs der Bahn, gräbt sich drauf in den Fels, so breit sie ist, und kriecht hindurch, klagt schon die ganze Zeit ihr gräulich heulend Lied; dann donnert sie bergab wiehert wie Boanerges*; dann, pünktlich wie ein Stern hält sie, fügsam, allmächtig, an ihrem Schuppen dann.
About the headline (FAQ)Translation of title "The railway train" = "Die Eisenbahn"
* Mk 3, 17
- Translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2017 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.
Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT) t-online.deIf you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
- a text in English by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886), no title, appears in Poems by Emily Dickinson, first published 1891
This text was added to the website: 2017-09-22
Line count: 16
Word count: 79