Lisa and I were just reminiscing a couple of weeks ago about how our parents would maintain our regular bedtimes through the summer when we were little. We commiserated in a shared sense of righteous indignation that we would have to go to bed while it was still light out, and there was no school tomorrow. Our son, John, demonstrated an appropriate level of horror.
When we think of Robert Louis Stevenson, what typically leaps to mind will be Treasure Island or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but for generations you would also find in just about every household a copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses, a book of children’s poetry by Stevenson (I guess that makes him the original Shel Silverstein). While the tone of the following poem does not quite catch my conniption fits on summer evenings long ago, it is a delightfully plaintive plea for just a few more minutes of play.
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 on 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?
I think this is a fun way to end our week of summer poetry. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have!