Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bed in Summer

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

— Robert Louis Stevenson
(from “A Child's Garden of Verses.” 1905)

I learned this poem from my mother who had to memorize it as a young student in Cuba. Many years later, she and my uncle Sergio, my father's brother, had a poetry smack-down during a party, and they laughingly recited it, trying to outdo each other in accuracy and pronounciation. You haven't really heard this poem until you experience it with a thick Spanish accent.

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