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The Little Review
Making No Compromises With the Public Taste
Poem for Sunday and Monocacy Battlefield 
Sunday, 6th July 2014 12:48 am

Rock Me to Sleep
By Elizabeth Akers Allen

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!


On Saturday after the World Cup the four of us went to Monocacy, which is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle there on several different farms and along the river. As is often the case with reenactments around here, there seemed to be more Confederate than Union reenactors, and since the events were taking place on national park land, no actual recreations of fighting were permitted, but we got to see cannons being fired, cavalry putting their horses through maneuvers, and infantry demonstrating how to load and fire muskets. (These pics are all of our family there -- will post more next week!)


The Orioles had already lost the first game of their double-header against the Red Sox by the time we got home (they won the second, thankfully). Paul made (fake and real) chicken with the blueberries we picked last weekend. Then we watched The Wind Rises, which is beautifully animated and very engaging though I don't agree with the people who told me it was Miyazaki's best film; I like the fantasy elements and the allegory of most of his others, I wished there had been more to the female characters, and I had a hard time forgetting what this idealistic Harry Potter lookalike's planes were ultimately used for.
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