Although Bacon's choice of poetry for his song settings is vast, he is recognized for his settings of American poets, including Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.
Photo: Gone over the big divide. Stereo copyrighted by T.W. Ingersoll, St. Paul, c1902. Prints and Photographs Reading Room, Library of Congress.
from Songs from Emily Dickinson
Bacon confirmed his preference for setting texts by Dickinson in his book Words on Music (Syracuse University Press, 1960). He observed that in "America we have a wealth of lyric poetry calling for song, particularly the contributions of the women, beginning with Emily Dickinson…"
Performers and scholars have ranked Bacon's Dickinson settings among the best in the repertoire and have considered him to be one of Dickinson's best interpreters. Few of Bacon's songs have been published separately. Rather, most of his songs have been issued in collections, and quite often a song will appear in more than one collection, usually in a revised version. One such collection is Bacon's Songs from Emily Dickinson, which was self-published by the composer. Among the songs in this collection is Bacon's setting of "It's Coming--the Postponeless Creature," a quietly dramatic dirge featuring a death-march accompaniment.
--Library of Congress
It's coming -- the postponeless Creature --
It gains the Block -- and now -- it gains the Door --
Chooses its latch, from all the other fastenings --
Enters -- with a "You know Me -- Sir"?
Simple Salute -- and certain Recognition --
Bold -- were it Enemy -- Brief -- were it friend --
Dresses each House in Crape, and Icicle --
And carries one -- out of it -- to God --