A Child Asleep in Its Own Life

(1972)

"A Child Asleep in Its Own Life" is the third poem and song in Ned Rorem's Last Poems of Wallace Stevens. "A Child Asleep in Its Own Life" is for soprano and piano, though the entire song cycle is for soprano, cello, and piano. The song is also included in Rorem's 50 Collected Songs.

A Child Asleep in Its Own Life
by Wallace Stevens


Among the old men that you know,
There is one, unnamed, that broods
On all the rest, in heavy thought.


They are nothing, except in the universe
Of that single mind. He regards them
Outwardly and knows them inwardly,


The sole emperor of what they are,
Distant, yet close enough to wake
The chords above your bed to-night.


--The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play


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