Going to Bed before It’s Dark

Myrtle Sheldon, illus. from "Child's Garden of Verses"

Myrtle Sheldon, illus. from “Child’s Garden of Verses”

I’m currently visiting my two-year-old grandson Alban and remembered a poem from my own childhood as he was being put to bed last night. There was still some daylight left, and Robert Louis Stevenson “Bed in Summer” captures a child’s sense of injustice at having to go to bed before it’s completely dark.

I devoured Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses when I was young and part of the reason may have been that I always felt that he understood me and was on my side. The greatest children’s poetry always gives that sense.

Bed in Summer

By Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night   
And dress by yellow candle-light.   
In summer, quite the other way,   
I have to go to bed by day.       

I have to go to bed and see          
The birds still hopping on the tree,   
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet   
Still going past me in the street.       

And does it not seem hard to you,   
When all the sky is clear and blue,   
And I should like so much to play,    
To have to go to bed by day?

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  • Barbara

    I loved that poem and, like you, the whole collection as a child. I had my mother’s well loved copy. I wonder if children. Today find them equally appealing.


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