Before I Was Myself You Made Me

by Dimitri Shostakovich

Before I was myself you made me, me
With love and patience, discipline and tears,
Then bit by bit stepped back to set me free,

Allowing me to sail upon my sea,
Though well within the headlands of your fears.
Before I was myself you made me, me

With dreams enough of what I was to be
And hopes that would be sculpted by the years,
Then bit by bit stepped back to set me free,

Relinquishing your powers gradually
To let me shape myself among my peers.
Before I was myself you made me, me,

And being good and wise, you gracefully
As dancers when the last sweet cadence nears
Bit by bit stepped back to set me free.

For love inspires learning naturally:
The mind assents to what the heart reveres.
And so it was through love you made me, me
By slowly stepping back to set me free.

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