"Four Trees–opon a solitary Acre–"

by Emily Dickinson
translated into German by Paul Celan
translated back into English by Marjorie Perloff

There is a field, solitary, on which four trees stand,
By accident.
What’s going on, what’s happening here?
They stand. Look here!

The sun comes, accompanying the morning,
Wind came toward it.
Of all those who are neighbors here
The nearest, God, is you.

The field has a place for them,
And they have an eye for the field.
An eye, that flits, now here–now there,
Perhaps a boy’s eye.

What are they in the connection
Between becoming and self-generating?
Each one: for whom does he pave the way and to whom
Does he stand opposed?

Ein Feld ist, einsam, drauf vier Bäume stehn,
Von ungefähr.
Was waltet vor, was wirkt hier mit?
Sie stehn, sieh her.

Es kommt die Sonne mit der Früh,
Wind tritt hinzu.
Von allen, did da Nachbarn sind:
Ihr nächster, Gott, bist du.

Das Feld hat für sie einen Ort,
Und sie fürs Feld ein Aug.
Ein Aug, das huscht, jetz hier — schon dort,
Vielleicht ein Knabenaug.

Was sind sie in Zusammenhang
Von Werden und Sichregen?
Ein jeder; wem bahnt er den Weg und wem
Steht er entgegen?

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

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

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

What Deed is Their's unto the General Nature—
What Plan
They severally—retard—or further—