Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Land of Nod

By Laurie Epps

April is National Children's Poetry month, and since my love for poetry began at such a young age, I see the importance of teaching poetry to young children. If you don't know how to teach your children about poetry, don't analyze it. Just read it. I fell in love with the meter, metaphors, and lyrical quality of poetry long before I knew what all those words meant. Read poetry to your children, it's important.

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland to a Lighthouse Engineer and his wife. Stevenson was sick most of his life, and caused irregular attendance in school. Most known for Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson wrote his poetry in his thirties and dedicated them to the nurse that cared for him as a child.

Robert Louis Stevenson 1850-1894
Like many children of his era, his father didn't see the value of an education, nor did he approve of Stevenson studying Law. Stevenson also got into some colorful situations with his cousin while attending the University of Edinburgh. Among his offenses were smoking hashish, drinking, and going to brothels. At the time, Stevenson was called a "velvet jacket" which means he dressed elegantly fashionably, and was known to party. At the age of 22, Stevenson declared himself an agnostic. In this way, he was a severe disappointment to his father. 

In 1879, Stevenson ventured to the Northern California coast in Monterey, but the trip nearly killed him due to health issues. However, the voyage also prompted him to write Treasure Island. He became quite the world traveler moving to the South of France in 1882, then New York, and also to the Island of Samoa. Stevenson died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Samoa in 1894.

The Land of Nod
by Robert Louis Stevenson

From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.

All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do—
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

The strangest things are these for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.

Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Monday Morning Book Club column dedicated to writers everywhere.

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