When our children were small, I used to read them poetry from a collection by Robert Louis Stevenson. This one was a particular favorite:
All around the house is the jet-black night;
It stares through the window-pane;
It crawls in the corners, hiding from the light,
And it moves with the moving flame.
Now my little heart goes a beating like a drum,
With the breath of the Bogies in my hair;
And all around the candle and the crooked shadows come,
And go marching along up the stair.
The shadow of the balusters, the shadow of the lamp,
The shadow of the child that goes to bed–
All the wicked shadows coming tramp, tramp, tramp,
With the black night overhead.
In comparison, another Stevenson poem I’d read to them occasionally, sounds absolutely wimpy.
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 errant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
When daughter Boo sent this photo of another of her Halloween decorations, I had to laugh. You don’t I overdid the Shadow March readings, do you?
(Boo wants me to point out that she often gets her ideas from magazines and blogs.)
Today is her birthday. I hope my lovely, clever, oldest daughter has an absolutely lovely day without a shadow in sight!
Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.