I've always been a fan of both E.E. Cummings and of Natalie Merchant and her erstwhile band 10,000 Maniacs. In 2010, Natalie recorded a double album of music inspired by and adapted from British and American poetry on the subject of childhood. Leave Your Sleep includes the Cummings poem below, set to a melody of delicate richness.
maggie and milly and molly and may || E.E. Cummings
10maggie and milly and molly and maywent down to the beach(to play one day)and maggie discovered a shell that sangso sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,andmilly befriended a stranded starwhose rays five languid fingers were;and molly was chased by a horrible thingwhich raced sideways while blowing bubbles:andmay came home with a smooth round stoneas small as a world and as large as alone.For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
This musical setting feels perfect for the poem because of the way it ebbs and flows, and how it allows plenty of space for each small story, each small(or: giantwide) discovery--each stanza has its own melodic character, just as each girl finds herself in the sea...just lovely.