It can happen: someone is more famous forever written word except poetry. This is true when it concerns the literary works of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894). He is mostly remembered for his books “Treasure Island”and “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.” But he also wrote some beautiful poems, such as “My shadow.”
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Who was Robert Louis Stevenson?
Because there is a separate page with information about Stevenson’s life, you can better read that section first.
On that page, you read that his father had a different future planned for his son. Sometimes a son doesn’t follow the advice of their fathers. Stevenson didn’t and he turned out to be a famous writer and poet.
Read more about the life of Robert Louis Stevenson on this page.
About “My shadow”
It seems like a confession. A confession of those things you would normally do. Stevenson makes this an intimate poem because he shares something that isn’t considered normal, according to many people.
Do you know any people that talk about the shadow(s) like Stevenson did?
This shadow seems to be a life-long companion. No one can see the truth, only Stevenson can. It’s his guidance. But in a way, it’s also something that holds him back. This shadow does not know the basic things in life, like how children are supposed to play.
This shadow makes Stevenson the odd one. One that doesn’t know everything about things go down in life. Is that self-protection or is he otherworldly?
Finally, one morning he outsmarts his shadow. No holding back, because the shadow remains sleeping, while he goes out.
This poem is all about escaping the surroundings or people that hold you back. Just as long as you’re fast enough and smart enough to profit from a moment of thoughtlessness. If Stevenson did this, why can’t you do this?
Conquer your shadow by outsmarting it or being faster.
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.
— Robert Louis Stevenson