Sophie Jewett was born in 1861. Her mother died when she was seven years old. Her father died when she was nine. She and her three siblings were reared by their uncle and grandmother until her adolescence, when, after their deaths, she chose her minister and his daughter for support. They encouraged her literary interests, and by the time she was twenty-eight she was a professor of English at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She never married and never had children, but she was able to express a mother’s love in this charming poem where aging is reversed by memory.

 

                    To a Child

 

The leaves talked in the twilight, dear;

Hearken the tale they told:

How in some far-off place and year,

Before the world grew old,

 

 

I was a dreaming forest tree,

You were a wild, sweet bird

 

Who sheltered at the heart of me

Because the north wind stirred;

 

 

How, when the chiding gale was still,

When peace fell soft on fear,

You stayed one golden hour to fill

My dream with singing, dear.

To-night the self-same songs are sung

The first green forest heard;

My heart and the gray world grow young—

To shelter you, my bird.

 

—Sophie Jewett

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