There is a poem I love by Ruth Whitman called My Daughter the Cypress. I wrote something that is an adaptation of it. I want to make it clear that I am giving her the credit for the poem, and that mine is a copycat. I’m not trying to violate a copyright. As such, I’d like to request that you do not post my poem anywhere else until I look into it further and try to get permission from whoever it is I need to get permission from. The author is deceased, so it may take awhile.

Here is the original poem:

My Daugther the Cypress

Ruth Whitman (1922-1999)

Sleep, little daughter, I’ll plant you a tree

Even as grandmother planted for me,

One tiny sapling more for the hill

Where two little cousins are flourishing still.

Sleep. Sleep, dream of the sea,

Your cradle’s a caïque, your tree, your tree

Will be a mast to take you from me

Grown for the boy who fells you free.

Sleep, sleep, the tree is yet small,

An infant tree, not three years tall,

It mocks its sisters, flutters its boughs,

Hush, hush, it rains, it snows,

Summer suns lengthen your hair,

You grow tall, you move with care,

And from the sea bright blue and white,

A sailor whistles in the night.

But sleep, sleep, not yet, not yet –

The hull is carved, the mast is set

Sleep one more night in Arcady,

My little girl, my cypress tree.

My Daugther the Cypress

by Ruth Whitman (1922-1999)

adaptation by Deanna Parish

Sleep, little daughter, I’ll plant you a tree

A tribute to you, a reminder for me,

Your stake in the world, here on the hill

Where your two big sisters are flourishing still.

Sleep, sleep, dream of the sea,

Your cradle’s a caïque, your tree, your tree

Will be a mast to take you from me

When the hand of death comes to fell you free.

Wait, wait, the tree is so small,

An infant tree, not three months tall,

But the winter has come, freezing the boughs,

The leaves are falling, it snows, it snows,

Summer suns you’ll never see,

I yearn for what can never be,

For from the sea bright blue and white,

Death whispers to you in the night.

But wait, wait, not yet, not yet –

The hull is carved, the mast is set –

Sleep one more night here next to me,

My little girl, my cypress tree.

Interestingly enough, I looked up the symbolism of this tree, and it turns out it represents bodily death and spiritual immortality, and is a tree of mourning. So I guess it is even more appropriate than I thought.

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