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Andrew’s Story: ‘The Land of Nod’ Saturday, 6 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Stories.

The poem I carry with me is The Land of Nod, by Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s ostensibly a child’s poem, of course, and I’ve read it to my own daughter. Its lines about the land ‘up the mountain-sides of dreams’ being full of ‘many frightening sights abroad’ and ‘curious music’ took on a new resonance when I read that RLS finished this poem and the others which make up A Child’s Garden of Verses in Bournemouth, coughing up blood and suffering from an eye infection that made it painful for him to be anywhere other than in the half-dark.

A scary place indeed – especially when you consider that, the year after, he was to dream most of the plot of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde there whilst being treated for his illness, apparently with cocaine…

The Land of Nod

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 there 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.


1. Rita - Saturday, 6 February 2010

I love RLS’s poems for children – they are so full of energy

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