Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Almost Poetry Thursday

I'm posting early for Poetry Thursday this week (though not very early), because we are leaving around 7 in the morning for about ten days' holiday. And this week's completely and totally optional prompt is: whatever you like. (I'm not sure what it would mean to ignore the prompt this week!).

I realised that since I don't write a new poem every week, if I continue posting my own work I will run out. So this week I decided to post a poem I remembered from my childhood. My first ever book of poetry was "The Golden Book of Poetry". The poems in that book probably had authors, and they were probably named (the ones that weren't "anonymous") but I don't remember them. The first book of poetry that made me aware that poems had authors was "A Child's Garden of Verse" by Robert Louis Stevenson. I enjoyed all the poems in that book, but one I remember in particular is "Where Go the Boats". It is about a child playing by a river, and there wasn't a river in my childhood, but there was a beach. We spent very considerable parts of our summers, and probably time in winter as well, at the beach, which was within walking distance of our house. Today's children might not consider it a reasonable walking distance, but we did. So this poem resonated with the part of me that loved to play by the water, and with the part of all of us that loves the idea of a "message in a bottle" and of an unseen connection with faraway people.

Where Go the Boats?
Dark brown is the river.
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating—
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore

- Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)


Dick said...

A Child's Garden of Verses was the book that really introduced me to poetry too. In a recent house move I re-discovered my original copy, complete with its beguiling illustrations, & I was happy to include it in my large collection of poetry books, newly shelved.

Thanks for the memory jog.

twitches said...

I agree with Dick's post; haven't read this in the longest time. Thanks for posting it!

Writing Blind said...

Have a good trip and enjoy your holiday.

bee said...

i always feel so sweetly, sadly inspired when i read his work. i think about his sickly childhood and how much of his writing was about travelling - so many lessons to be learned there.

thank you.

Kay Pere said...

My mother read this poem to me from our "Child Craft" books. Very pleasant memories. Wonderful to read it here, again.


Deb R said...

It's a lovely poem and I can see why you felt a connection with it.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

paris parfait said...

As a child, RLS was one of my favourite authors. Lovely poem. By now, you're already on holiday and I hope, having a wonderful time. I'm just back and trying to catch up w/ blogs. "See" you soon!