Posted by: Dahni | May 12, 2013


In honor of Mothers!

Our Mother

Our Mother

Perhaps this is an unusual title, but I believe it is appropriate and in as far as the credit to the original words are concerned, I am absolutely confident that they were written..

By Unknown

There exists a beautiful and once very popular poetic gem whose title without question is –

Rock Me to Sleep, Mother

But this poem has around 8-10 claimants as to its original author. The first to publish it in public was Elizabeth Akers Allen under the pseudonym Florence Percy in 1860. It was so popular, someone set the words to music and it was familiar to many during the American Civil War. Even the original music is in question as to its composer. A minister by the name of Moses Hull (1836-1907) certainly had the same time frame as the first public printing of the poem in 1860.


On a 1999 album called ‘Mother’ (no longer in print), singer, songwriter Cathie Ryan gives the following credits:

Words Elizabeth Akers Allen (Public Domain), music by Cathie Ryan

(Wake the Neighbors Music ASCAP)

In her notes from her website at –, she writes:

“I found this song in an old collection of poetry.  It was written by American poet Elizabeth Akers Allen approx 1860. I originally recorded it on the Northstar CD ‘Mother‘ which is no longer in print.”

 Cathie Ryan

Her music is certainly different from that attributed to Moses Hull, over a hundred years ago.

Back in 1866, Elizabeth Akers Allen, a known poet, was challenged by Alexander M.W. Ball, claiming to be the original author, around 3 years earlier than Allen. I could not find any court records as to the outcome. So, it is Unknown.

In 1867, the date set by the publisher, M.W. Dodd, a book was written by Oliver Andrew Morse, titled:

Who Wrote


 ‘A Vindication of the Claim of Alexander M. W. Ball:

Of Elizabeth, N.J., to the Authorship of the Poem, Rock Me to Sleep, Mother’ 

The 72 page preview from Google is interesting and worth reading if you are so inclined. From the preview, there are a total of 15 verses as claimed and given by M.W. Ball in 1857, as opposed to those considerably less, in 1860, by Elizabeth Akers Allen.


excerpts from: ‘Who Wrote Rock Me to Sleep Mother,’

by O.A. Morse, pages 1 and 2

It is Unknown as to how you think about those sentiments. All of these things written thus far are Unknown, but the importance of the words from whomever they were written and the emotions they evoke are perfectly clear to at least some Unknown number of us.

To follow here are the lyrics perhaps most recognized, a YouTube video with old photographs and the sweet voice of Cathie Ryan.

Rock Me to Sleep, Mother

BACKWARD, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for to-night!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore;
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother,—rock me to sleep!

Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears,—
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,—
Take them, and give me my childhood again!
I have grown weary of dust and decay,—
Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away;
Weary of sowing for others to reap;—
Rock me to sleep, mother,—rock me to sleep!

Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue,
Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you!
Many a summer the grass has grown green,
Blossomed and faded, our faces between:
Yet, with strong yearning and passionate pain,
Long I to-night for your presence again.
Come from the silence so long and so deep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother,—rock me to sleep!

Over my heart, in the days that are flown,
No love like mother-love ever has shone;
No other worship abides and endures,—
Faithful, unselfish, and patient like yours:
None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the world-weary brain.
Slumber’s soft calms o’er my heavy lids creep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother,—rock me to sleep!

Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold,
Fall on your shoulders again as of old;
Let it drop over my forehead to-night,
Shading my faint eyes away from the light;
For with its sunny-edged shadows once more
Haply will throng the sweet visions of yore;
Lovingly, softly, its bright billows sweep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother,—rock me to sleep!

Mother, dear mother, the years have been long
Since I last listened [to] your lullaby song:
Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem
Womanhood’s [Childhood’s] years have been only a dream.

Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace,
With your light lashes just sweeping my face,
Never hereafter to wake or to weep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother,—rock me to sleep!

By Unknown

There are times when most or all of us would simply like to just stop time, for some Unknown measure of time. There are times when many of us would like to return to our childhoods, for at least some amount of Unknown time. There are times when most mothers would greatly desire to have us, their little child, back in their arms again, to rock us to sleep.

And there are times when most of us or all of us would like to see our mother again. Sometimes we would like her loving arms wrapped around us again. And even sometimes, we would like to be our own little child again, singing….

Rock me to sleep, mother,—rock me to sleep!

But Mother, she continues by more than just memory, as if by heavenly plan 
from mother to mother to every woman, child and man!
Sunday, May 12, 2013

Just I-Magine,



  1. Wonderful clasping remembrances, they endure!

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