Four Trees - upon a solitary Acre -
Without Design
Or Order, or Apparent Action -
Maintain -

The Sun - upon a Morning meets them -
The Wind -
No nearer Neighbor - have they -
But God -

The Acre gives them - Place -
They - Him - Attention of Passer by -
Of Shadow, or of Squirrel, haply -
Or Boy -

What Deed is Theirs unto the General Nature -
What Plan
They severally - retard - or further -
Unknown -

c. 1863                    1945


As in number 258, the starting-point for this poem is a physical perception: four trees on a plot of land. However, far from inspiring the poet with a sense of Romantic mysticism, this particular phenomenon leads her to wonder whether the world is subject to an ulterior design or is only a collection of random elements and, ultimately, to question the existence of God.