Friday, March 21, 2014

Warm Summer Sun - Mark Twain

Warm summer sun,
Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind,
Blow softly here.
Green sod above,
Lie light, lie light.
Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.

Adapted from Robert Richardson's poem "Annette."

This poem actually adorns the headstone of Mark Twain's daughter, Susy Clemens.  She died at 24 of a coma induced by spinal meningitis.  She was much loved by Twain, and had served as the inspiration for his portrayal of Joan of Arc in his novels.  Her death devastated Twain, and her tombstone remains as a testament to his love.

The poem itself is direct and beautiful, a plea to nature for peace and rest for a loved one.  The only changes Twain made to the poem was the removal of the name "Annette" instead replacing it with "dear heart" and changing "sweetheart" into good night.  The verse is often attributed to Twain, which I have also done, but as on Susy's stone, I have included the reference to Robert Richardson, who wrote the much longer poem of which this is the last stanza.  Twain, however, has become inextricably linked to the poem over the years.


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