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Occasional Poem — Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
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I Will Make You Brooches

I will make you brooches and toys for your delight
Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night.
I will make a palace fit for you and me
Of green days in forests and blue days at sea.

I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,
Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom,
And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white
In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night.

And this shall be for music when no one else is near,
The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!
That only I remember, that only you admire,
Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.

Man, I love this poem. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of free verse because it just completely disregards rhythm, and the musical quality of poetry is one of the major things that sets it apart from prose; ergo, I like it when a poet writes with that in mind, and when he/she does it as well as R.L.S. has done here, well, what a treat.

The first stanza is especially strong. Along with the rhythmic metre he sets down, I also like the unequivocalness of his tone — he’s not hedging any bets here, he says ‘you’re mine and this is what I’m going to do for you and you will love it.’ Cocky, maybe, but grand and romantic, and also made very personal with the line later on “that only I remember, that only you admire.” It all speaks of a very close and honest connection to the muse, which, I think, is what sets it above the boring, washed-out irony of much of post-modern poetry.

It’s a great conceit he’s concocted here as well — “I will craft for you brooches and toys made of bird-song and star-shine . . . you shall wash your body and keep it white (pure) in rainfall and dewfall.” A little old-fashioned by today’s standards, maybe, but don’t people always complain that romance and chivalry are dead? Bring it back by reading stuff like this. And then build those palaces for the ones who deserve it. meopcco03971semaj

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah P permalink
    Tuesday, February 19, 2008 10:05 pm

    I get a distinct sense of travel, and vagrancy in this poem. It’s as if the poet is promising something he will never be able to offer her, but she knows it, and they’re happy anyway. Almost like a tinker and his maid, always traveling, dreaming of settling down to a calm life, but knowing they never will. But it is beautifully romantic. I like it.

  2. James17930 permalink
    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 9:24 pm

    ^ I really like your reading of it.

  3. Moriko permalink
    Wednesday, March 19, 2008 5:21 pm

    there is a song that was based off of this poem done for school choirs and such. It is really pretty

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