Commissioned by Nadia Boulanger to celebrate her 50th year of teaching, "Dirge in Woods" for soprano and piano (in E flat) is a setting of the poem by George Meredith, an English poet and contemporary of Emily Dickinson. The poem uses images of nature as contrasting symbols of life and death.
Dirge in Woods
A wind sways the pines, And below Not a breath of wild air; Still as the mosses that glow On the flooring and over the lines Of the roots here and there. The pine-tree drops its dead; They are quiet, as under the sea. Overhead, overhead Rushes life in a race, As the clouds the clouds chase; And we go, And we drop like the fruits of the tree, Even we, Even so.