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Horse on the Tracks

"And neigh like Boanerges;
Then, punctual as a star,
Stop -- docile and omnipotent --
At its own stable door."
~lines 13-16 of Emily Dickinson's "The Railway Train"

I looked on several different dictionary and reference websites. All of them indicate that Boanerges is the name Jesus gave to James and John and that this term is often used to describe zealous and loud preachers. In Biblical terms it means "sons of thunder," according to Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary. I thought this was interesting. On my first readings through it, I didn't really see this as more than just an extended metaphor comparing a train to a horse. It seems that Boanerges may be a name for a horse. According to allbreedpedigree.com, there are a few horses registered on their site with this name. I wonder if this particular name was chosen for its meaning. It makes sense if it is. If it was chosen because Boanerges is a way of referring to a loud preacher, well . . . trains may not be preachers, but they certainly are loud.

Other Thoughts on Emily Dickinson's Poetry

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 4, 2009 8:58 PM.

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