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At the Sea-Side
Robert Louis Stevenson


When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up
Till it could come no more.

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.


Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
Robert Louis Stevenson was one of my favorite childhood companions. Thanks!
Posted 06/06/2022 12:04 PM
Everything I need to know about writing poetry I could learn from this poem. The brevity, the seeming simplicity, the vast scenery evoked, the sense of wonder, the mechanics of sea and sand, the art of play, the feeling of an entire experience in 6 lines.
Posted 06/04/2022 12:00 PM
I'm giving this poem to my Granddaughter. Just right for children of any age! Thank you, Jayne.
Posted 06/04/2022 11:51 AM
Never thought about it before, but I wonder if being steeped in that wonderful book's offerings as a child might be responsible for my being a poet today???
Posted 06/04/2022 11:48 AM
I loved Robert Louis Stevenson as a child, and I still do!! I still can recite a lot of them!
Posted 06/04/2022 10:24 AM

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