Saturday, December 4, 2010

Classic Poetry - (The Land of Story-Books - Robert Louis Stevenson)

You may know this author by some of his greatest works Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but some of you may not be familiar with the fact that he was also an accomplished poet.

The Land of Story-Books

At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter's camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson (13 November 1850 - 3 December 1894)

This poem was suggested by Margo Roby the poet and author found when visiting blog Wordgathering.

After having read this poem what are your thoughts?  Isn't it amazing what books can do for a child's imagination?  For me books are what shaped my desire to write. I can fondly remember reading Treasure Island and imaging being a young Jim Hawkins.  If you have any thoughts on this poem pr any of Robert Louis Stevenson's other writings please feel free to do so in the comments section below.  We look forward to hearing what you have to say or share.  Do you have another poem you like by Stevenson?  Please post a link to it in the comment section so we can read it too.  

Poets United posts a classic poem once weekly. We want to do this to introduce classic poets and their poems to our members. It is also a way to display different styles, genres and approaches to poetry. Our intent is to further expand the world of poetry while educating ourselves.

If you have a classic poem or set of prose you are fond of please let us know by emailing it to us at


  1. I loved this poem, and it took me back to when I was very small, and running a little toy car around the edges of the rug in the living room while the Big People talked. I have been carrying home an armload of books from the library every week since I was five years old. Books have taught me about life, inspired me, informed me, companioned me, helped me dream, and transported me every day of my life since I learned to read. Reading is such a blessing. Its is a wonderful gift to a child, to spark his or her interest in reading.

  2. Treasure Island was a massive influence in my young life but this poem was a surprise to me. I never knew he had written it. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Thanks for sharing; It reminds me of all those quiet moments, playing, listening to the murmurs of adulthood, while I escaped with my
    imagination and crayons~

  4. i really like his master ballantrae


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