I. Nature, the Gentlest Mother


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;
But sometimes gets quite pissy
At an impetuous bird.

Then harsh her conversation,
on summer afternoons,—
Her household cowering,
Though the storms end soon,

Her voice loud booming,
Inciting timid prayers
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.

With all the children hid
She grumbles on her way
To sundown, to dim her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky,

With utmost irritation
And histrionic flair,
Her golden finger near her lip,
Yells “Silence, everywhere!”


Original here. This is one of the poems Aaron Copland set to music in “Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson.” You can listen to a beautiful rendition with Dawn Upshaw on YouTube, here.

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