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My Shadow
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 goes 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 behind 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 arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

This poem is in the public domain.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894) was a Scottish author whose gift for writing ranged from poetry and fiction to travelogues and essays. For many of us, Stevenson was perhaps the first poet to whom we were introduced, through his wonderful book, A Child's Garden of Verses. We may have encountered him again in our youth, in the exotic pages of Kidnapped, Treasure Island, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Always sickly, Robert left his beloved Scotland and spent the latter half of his life in the kinder climate of the South Sea islands. He died much too young and is buried in Samoa, where his tomb is engraved with lines from his poem, "Requiem:" "Under the wide and starry sky/dig the grave and let me lie."





Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
This was one of my favorite poems when I was a child - and I still love it. Thanks for sharing it! And for keeping the poems on-line. I was out-of-town last week, so I'm just trying to catch up.
Posted 09/17/2018 11:09 AM
I just saw this delightful poem. Thank you for sharing the memory.
Posted 09/14/2018 05:25 PM
Lori Levy:
I always liked this poem, too.
Posted 09/13/2018 09:13 PM
Yes, this is my favorite poem from my youth. I recite it to all of my great-grandchildren. I also see that each of them has a copy of RLS's delightful poetry.
Posted 09/13/2018 05:46 PM
Mary Lou Taylor:
One of my childhood favorites. So many of the poet's poems come to mind now and then.
Posted 09/13/2018 04:36 PM
The elegant composition skills of the masters is often overlooked and little appreciated. Thanks for this post, and, this poet's taking notes!
Posted 09/13/2018 03:37 PM
I love the quiet magic in this poem.
Posted 09/13/2018 09:46 AM
Jean :D:
I still have this book my mother (a poet herself)read to my sister & I for bedtime stories. How I love rereading this again, thanks.
Posted 09/13/2018 08:09 AM
Janet Leahy:
Thanks for the memories of loving this poem as a child.
Posted 09/13/2018 06:12 AM

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