The World Feels Dusty

"The World Feels Dusty" is the fourth song in Copland's Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson song cycle and was orchestrated by Copland in 1958.

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

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The song cycle seems to come to a standstill in “The World Feels Dusty,” with the piano playing floating, repeating chords that never seem to resolve. The soprano imitates the quality of the piano in her lyrical line, as if the two are gazing over the dry prairie from a weary front porch.

Note that the final two lines of Dickinson’s poem are actually:

And Hybla Balms—
Dews of Thessaly, to fetch—

The songs were written five years before the first comprehensive, edited version of Dickinson’s poetry was published by Thomas Johnson.

–Christie Finn



The World feels Dusty
by Emily Dickinson

The World feels Dusty
When We stop to Die
We want the Dew then
Honors taste dry

Flags vex a Dying face
But the least Fan
Stirred by a friend’s Hand
Cools like the Rain

Mine be the Ministry
When they Thirst comes
Dews of Thyself to fetch
And Holy Balms

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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