Dear March, Come In!

The sixth song in Copland's Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson, "Dear March, Come In!" was orchestrated in 1958.

(Note that Copland set Dickinson's texts before Thomas Johnson’s 1955 edition of Dickinson’s poems, the first complete and accurate collection, became available. The original version of the poem, with Dickinson's intended punctuation, as well as the version of the poem used by Aaron Copland, are presented below for educational purposes.) -- Christie Finn

Date: 1950Composer: Aaron CoplandText: Emily DickinsonSong Collection: Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson

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    After the lyrical and ballad-like quality of the two songs preceding it, “Dear March, Come In!” presents a lively dialogue (in a quick 6/8 meter) between the speaker and the month of March. March is perhaps represented in the “chatter” heard in the piano played between the lines that are sung.

    Ruth C. Friedberg states: “The changes in key are integral in portraying the various stages of the visit [between March and the speaker], the first one mirroring a change of place (‘come right upstairs’) as the melodic line pictorially ascends… The second key change marks the arrival of April, whose knock is also heard in the left hand of the piano part… The final return to the opening F-sharp major brings back the initial joy of March’s arrival.”
    Dickinson perhaps writes of her personal experience of March and the cherishing of the first signs of spring after a long New England winter. She treasures these first signs so much that perhaps she does not wish for the lusty fullness April to come and overpower March’s fragility…

    –Christie Finn


    Dear March — Come in — (poem 1320) [with Dickinson’s intended punctuation]
    by Emily Dickinson

    Dear March — Come in —
    How glad I am —
    I hoped for you before —

    Put down your Hat —
    You must have walked —
    How out of Breath you are —
    Dear March, Come right up the stairs with me —
    I have so much to tell —

    I got your Letter, and the Birds —
    The Maples never knew that you were coming — till I called
    I declare — how Red their Faces grew —
    But March, forgive me — and
    All those Hills you left for me to Hue —
    There was no Purple suitable —
    You took it all with you —

    Who knocks? That April.
    Lock the Door —
    I will not be pursued —
    He stayed away a Year to call
    When I am occupied —
    But trifles look so trivial
    As soon as you have come

    That Blame is just as dear as Praise
    And Praise as mere as Blame —


    Dear March, Come In! [with punctuation used by composer Aaron Copland, from an earlier “corrected” edition of Dickinson’s poetry]

    Dear March, come in!
    How glad I am!
    I looked for you before.
    Put down your hat –
    You must have walked –
    How out of breath you are!
    Dear March, how are you?
    And the rest?
    Did you leave Nature well?
    Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
    I have so much to tell!

    I got your letter, and the bird’s;
    The maples never knew
    That you were coming, – I declare,
    How red their faces grew!
    But, March, forgive me –
    And all those hills
    You left for me to hue,
    There was no purple suitable,
    You took it all with you.

    Who knocks? that April?
    Lock the door!
    I will not be pursued!
    He stayed away a year, to call
    When I am occupied.
    But trifles look so trivial
    As soon as you have come,
    And blame is just as dear as praise
    And praise as mere as blame.

    Related Information

    Sheet Music

    Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson

    Composer(s): Aaron Copland

    Song(s): 1. Nature, the Gentlest Mother
    2. There Came a Wind Like a Bugle
    3. Why Do They Shut Me Out of Heaven?
    4. The World Feels Dusty
    5. Heart, We Will Forget Him
    6. Dear March, Come In!
    7. Sleep is Supposed to Be
    8. When They Come Back
    9. I Felt a Funeral in My Brain
    10. I've Heard an Organ Talk Sometimes
    11. Going to Heaven!
    12. The Chariot

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