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Jim Clark: Music


(Jim Clark)
November 22, 2010
Words: Byron Herbert Reece/Music: Jim Clark

A sad little lullaby for aging children.  I thought it made an appropriate ending.  Reece wrote it shortly after the death of his beloved mother, when he, too, was suffering from tuberculosis.  It was never included in any of his books.  Dr. Raymond Cook printed it in his biography of Reece, Mountain Singer.




When he was cradle-length he heard

A tender voice croon

Above his head a sleepy word,

And he was sleeping soon:

Sleep, go to sleep,

The stars tip up the sky;

There comes the moon;

The sun will soon

Open his great red eye,

          Sleep, go to sleep.


He slept and woke the years around

And knew both joy and grief

And time that never makes a sound

Was like the willow leaf

That springs again

And falls again

While seasons slip away.


At length a voice touched with pain

Began to sing and say:

Cherish, child, the lovely light,

Cherish, child, the breath;

It isn’t long till fall of night,

It isn’t long till death.

          Then sleep, go to sleep.