Rock Me to Sleep
Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight, Make me a child again just for tonight! Mother, come back from the echoless shore, Take me again to your heart as of yore; Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care, Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair; Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;— Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep! Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years! I am so weary of toil and of tears,— Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,— Take them, and give me my childhood again! I have grown weary of dust and decay,— Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away; Weary of sowing for others to reap;— Rock me to sleep, mother — rock me to sleep! Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue, Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you! Many a summer the grass has grown green, Blossomed and faded, our faces between: Yet, with strong yearning and passionate pain, Long I tonight for your presence again. Come from the silence so long and so deep;— Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep! Over my heart, in the days that are flown, No love like mother-love ever has shone; No other worship abides and endures,— Faithful, unselfish, and patient like yours: None like a mother can charm away pain From the sick soul and the world-weary brain. Slumber’s soft calms o’er my heavy lids creep;— Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep! Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold, Fall on your shoulders again as of old; Let it drop over my forehead tonight, Shading my faint eyes away from the light; For with its sunny-edged shadows once more Haply will throng the sweet visions of yore; Lovingly, softly, its bright billows sweep;— Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep! Mother, dear mother, the years have been long Since I last listened your lullaby song: Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem Womanhood’s years have been only a dream. Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace, With your light lashes just sweeping my face, Never hereafter to wake or to weep;— Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep!
This poem is in the public domain.