There came a Wind like a Bugle -
It quivered through the Grass
And a Green Chill upon the Heat
So ominous did pass
We barred the Windows and the Doors
As from an Emerald Ghost -
The Doom's electric Moccasin
That very instant passed -
On a strange Mob of panting Trees
And Fences fled away
And Rivers where the Houses ran
Those looked that lived - that Day -
The Bell within the steeple wild
The flying tidings told -
How much can come
And much can go,
And yet abide the World!

c. 1883                    1891


This poem forms a kind of companion piece to number 258. In both, the poet's response to a momentary perception leads her to a deep recognition. But this one is perhaps even more philosophical in its conclusion. Here, the momentary wind inspires her with a sense of dread at the ineluctable passing of all physical phenomena, including herself. And yet, it ends with a realization that the permanence of the world, in language, is actually based in the transience of all-that-is.