This poem talks about a man and his experience and interaction with the sea at the coast. The water is described as the "basement" and the frigates, large sailing ships, are on the "upper floor" and this man's place was in the sand, where he felt very small. The second standza is saying how little-by-little the tide (called He in the poem) began washing over him; first it was only as shallow as his shoe, then past his belt and even higher. The man was being taken in by the sea to the point where he was frightened and started walking away to go back into down. The wave then followed after him and as he finally got far enough away the wave withdrew because of unfamiliarity.
This is exactly how it feel when you walk along any coast. The tides crash it and roll high up the sand and almost feel like they are pulling you back in. I think that Dickinson did a great job describing her experience and giving it life through personification. This poem was very easy to interpret and I think that is why I liked it.
- emi10 emi10 Feb 28, 2008

This poem is a little more confusing to me than others. I believe the whole course of the poem takes place in her house and on the way to town. I don’t really believe she is walking along a beautiful sea. I believe maybe she is just more of think of being near the sea or it could even be more complex. What came to mind for me most in the poem is that there is something Emily doesn’t like at home and it’s draining her it sucking her down or into the sea like the tide. The further Emily gets away from the house the more the nuisance goes away and when she makes it into town she can forget about the sea/problem and go about her day. if anyone agrees please reply becuase thats only my opinion. - BST BST Mar 4, 2008