This is the first of a new series of posts where I highlight the poems of people who wrote poetry but might be remembered more for something else.
Robert Louis Stevenson is known for writing books like Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Kidnapped. The novelist also wrote several poetry collections including Underwoods and A Child’s Garden of Verses. The poem below “The Land of Story-books” comes from A Child’s Garden of Verses.
“The Land of Story-books”
Robert Louis Stevenson
At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.
Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.
There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter’s camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.
These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.
I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.
So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.