Going to Heaven!

"Going to Heaven!" is the eleventh song in Copland's Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson song cycle.

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

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“Going to Heaven!” again explores death in Dickinson’s dispassionate, curious way. Throughout the poem, the writer seems torn between her desire to go to heaven and her desire to “look a little more/At such a curious earth!”. Dickinson’s unique view of life and eternity are clearly stated in this poem. In the song, the repeated ascending lines in the piano and voice add to the questioning air, since spoken questions are of course characterized by a rise in pitch.

“Going to Heaven!,” though exploring the familiar theme of death and eternity found throughout the song cycle, cannot be related in musical material to any other song in the cycle. Copland even stated: “‘Going to Heaven!’ is so different that it’s fun to play and to sing for an audience.” He named it one of his favorite songs in the cycle.

–Christie Finn


Going to Heaven!
by Emily Dickinson

Going to Heaven!
I don’t know when,
Pray do not ask me how, –
Indeed I’m too astonished
To think of answering you!
Going to Heaven! –
How dim it sounds!
And yet it will be done
As sure as flocks go home at night
Unto the shepherd’s arm!

Perhaps you’re going too!
Who knows?
If you should get there first
Save just a little place for me
Close to the two I lost!
The smallest “robe” will fit me,
And just a bit of “crown”;
For you know we do not mind our dress
When we are going home.

Going to Heaven!
I’m glad I don’t believe it
For it would stop my breath,
And I’d like to look a little more
At such a curious earth!
I am glad they did believe it
Whom I have never found
Since the mighty autumn afternoon
I left them in the ground.

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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