The two poems by Robert Louis Stevenson are an important part of the book and story.  Indeed, you can say that they form not just the bookends for the story, but also contain much of the story within their verse.

The poems are actually a small tribute to my mother.  One of my earliest memories is her reading to me from A Child’s Garden of Verses, published in 1885.  The book was always on my bookshelf until I got too cool as a teenager to have kids stuff.

Thanks, Mom.  I’m sure that you never dreamed that a poem from this early book in my life would provide inspiration nearly half a century later.

 

Come, My Beloved, Hear From Me
 
COME, my beloved, hear from me
Tales of the woods or open sea.
Let our aspiring fancy rise
A wren’s flight higher toward the skies;
Or far from cities, brown and bare,
Play at the least in open air.
In all the tales men hear us tell
Still let the unfathomed ocean swell,
Or shallower forest sound abroad
Below the lonely stars of God;
In all, let something still be done,
Still in a corner shine the sun,
Slim-ankled maids be fleet of foot,
Nor man disown the rural flute.
Still let the hero from the start
In honest sweat and beats of heart
Push on along the untrodden road
For some inviolate abode.
Still, O beloved, let me hear
The great bell beating far and near-
The odd, unknown, enchanted gong
That on the road hales men along,
That from the mountain calls afar,
That lures a vessel from a star,
And with a still, aerial sound
Makes all the earth enchanted ground.
Love, and the love of life and act
Dance, live and sing through all our furrowed tract;
Till the great God enamoured gives
To him who reads, to him who lives,
That rare and fair romantic strain
That whoso hears must hear again. 

Robert Louis Stevenson


I Know Not How It is With You

I know not how it is with you —
I love the first and last,
The whole field of the present view,
The whole flow of the past.

One tittle of the things that are,
Nor you should change nor I —
One pebble in our path — one star
In all our heaven of sky.

Our lives, and every day and hour,
One symphony appear:
One road, one garden — every flower
And every bramble dear.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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