Robert Louis Stevenson

(1850-1894 / Edinburgh / Scotland)

My Shadow


From Child's Garden of Verses

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.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Colleen Courtney (6/3/2014 9:10:00 PM)

    I also learned and memorized this wonderful poem as a small child and can remember my parents being so proud that I was made to recite it to extended family one Thanksgiving. Thanks, to Sunprincess for helping to bring this old favorite to this old mind of mine! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Prachi Pathak (9/20/2013 12:27:00 AM)

    It was my favourite poem as a child.Thanks for adding it here.. I had forgotten the 3rd verse completely and very happy to find it here (Report) Reply

  • Barbara Pangaro (10/3/2004 6:59:00 AM)

    I am in my fifties now, but as a small child and very sick for 2 months, I was given a poem book to read to help pass the time. This was one of the poems that I memorized from Robert Lewis Stevenson's writtings. It has been one of my favorites to resite over the years to my grandchildren.
    Over the years to poem book waas lost, but i realized that i could now find them on the internet. Who ever put this information together, Thank you (Report) Reply

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