As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear; he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.
This poem is in the public domain.
Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) is, for many of us, the first poet to whom we were introduced, through his wonderful book, A Child's Garden of Verses. Though he came from a family of engineers and it was expected he would follow suit, Robert wrote stories even as a child; no one was really surprised when, three years into his engineering studies at the University of Edinburgh, he abandoned them to study writing. Always an avid traveller, despite lifelong poor health, Robert spent much of his life looking for a place to live that offered some respite from his illnesses. A prolific writer of poetry, fiction (Kidnapped, Treasure Island, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide are his best known), travelogues, and political essays, he is properly revered today as a major literary figure, although in the early twentieth century, he was temporarily dismissed and disdained as "a children's author." Ultimately, Robert ending up living in Samoa, happy and productive until a stroke abruptly ended his life at the age of 44.
Such effortless form. Precision.
Posted 11/13/2012 09:18 AM