Helen Hunt Jackson

Down to Sleep

November woods are bare and still;

November days are clear and bright;

Each noon burns up the morning's chill;

The morning's snow is gone by night;

Each day my steps grow slow, grow light,

As through the woods I reverent creep,

Watching all things lie "down to sleep."

I never knew before what beds,

Fragrant to smell, and soft to touch,

The forest sifts and shapes and spreads;

I never knew before how much

Of human sound there is in such

Low tones as through the forest sweep

When all wild things lie "down to sleep."

Each day I find new coverlids

Tucked in, and more sweet eyes shut tight;

Sometimes the viewless mother bids

Her ferns kneel down, full in my sight;

I hear their chorus of "good-night";

And half I smile, and half I weep,

Listening while they lie "down to sleep."

November woods are bare and still;

November days are bright and good;

Life's noon burns up life's morning chill;

Life's night rests feet which long have stood;

Some warm, soft bed, in field or wood,

The mother will not fail to keep,

Where we can lay us "down to sleep."