Vintage verse – My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson


My Shadow

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

by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim.

6 thoughts on “Vintage verse – My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson

  1. RLS introduced me to poetry when I was young. His poems were companions in bed when I was home alone and ill and gave me the impetus to read more challenging poets in my childhood. This is one of my very favorite poems ever, and one of the few that I still know “by heart”.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Risa and Christine! He was my very first poet as well. In fact, my Dad gave me a tiny book (1951) of ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ which I still cherish today. Do you remember the poignant ‘To any Reader?’ But I will bring my grandchildren to this garden and they will hear and look and be enchanted by this book! Thank you, Christine, for returning us to fond memories! And for both the vintage and new poems that appear for us each day!


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