The American poet Emily Dickinson wrote "I cautious, scanned my little life" around 1860, though, like most of her poems, it wasn't published until after her death. The poem's speaker takes stock of their life just as a farmer separates the wheat from the chaff, stripping away the fleeting, unimportant bits and leaving only "what would last." The speaker places this "priceless Hay" into a "Barn" for safekeeping, only to later discover that it has disappeared—resulting in the speaker's bewilderment and doubt. Read symbolically, this "Hay" might represent the speaker's faith in God and/or the precious memories a poet tries to preserve within their poetry (represented here by the "Barn"). The poem, it follows, might suggest the difficulty of maintaining one's faith in difficult times and/or the limits of writing itself.