Monday, November 29, 2010

"The Land of Counterpane" by Robert Louis Stevenson

Whenever I have a nasty cold, or flu, like now, and I am forced to take to bed, I think of this poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. It is no coincidence that he is also one of my favorite childhood authors, having given me such memorable playmates as Long John Silver in "Treasure Island", and David Balfour in "Kidnapped." So, as I've said, it is not unusual for me to pick up that old poetry book my Mom gave me in 1962, "The Golden Book of Poetry", and flip to page 59 to read "The Land of Counterpane." It doesn't have any medicinal value at all, it's more like "Chicken Soup for The Soul."

The gift of a book to a child can be a wonderful thing. Think of it - this book, which was given to me so many years ago, has provided me with solace and comfort so often, that it would be impossible to put a price upon it.

"The Land of Counterpane"

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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