Thursday, July 25, 2013

"My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson

The book of poetry which my Mom gave me for my 8th birthday still inspires me over 50 years later. No matter where I have lived, this book has always been with me. Some of my favorite poems from my childhood rest between its covers, and from time to time I post one here. Today is one of those times.

I’ve been having a rough time of it lately for various reasons, and it amazes me at the comfort I can still derive form this old and battered book of children’s poetry. Perhaps I am just immature, or maybe the book is so much a part of who I am, that it is always able to make me smile.

So, without further delay, or comment on my part, here is “My Shadow”; both literally, and figuratively .

“My Shadow” by Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me; he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an errant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

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