Nature, the Gentlest Mother

(1944)

"Nature, the Gentlest Mother" can be found in the Ernst Bacon song collection Songs from Emily Dickinson: Nature Time and Space - Volume 2. Copland also set this Dickinson text in his Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson song cycle.

Nature, the Gentlest Mother

by Emily Dickinson


Nature, the gentlest mother
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest, -
Her admonition mild


In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.


How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon, -
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down


Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.


When all the children sleep
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky,


With infinite affection
And infiniter care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.


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