Where Go the Boats?



Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850, in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a sickly individual and struggled against poor health and tuberculosis throughout his life. He studied law at University and was admitted to the bar in 1875, but never practiced due to an ever growing passion for writing. In 1880, at the age of thirty, he married Frances Osbourne, an American divorcee ten years his senior. In 1883 he wrote the first of the two books for which he is best known, Treasure Island, and in 1886, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In search of climates that would be better suited to his fragile health, he moved to one of the Islands in what is now Western Samoa in 1889 and continued to write, but eventually succumbed to ill health and died in 1894.

Robert Louis


Where Go the Boats?

Dark brown is the river,
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.
Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating--
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.
Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.
Robert Louis Stevenson


About this poem: Few poets can capture the spirit of childhood the way Stevenson can. The world a child inhabits is in several dimensions bigger, richer and altogether more magical than the 'real' one, and Stevenson's poems bring out that difference admirably, blending the real world seamlessly with that of the imagination, and tossing in details like 'it flows along forever' and 'castles of the foam' for the child's eye view.
a-floating: flotando
: espuma
a-boating: a bordo
out past the mill: luego de pasar el molino
ashore: a la costa, a tierra


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