Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Keepsake Mill

This poem is a particular favorite of mine. "Keepsake Mill" is perhaps the most serious and mature of all the selections in Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses".

In "Keepsake Mill", we find an interesting combination of present and future tenses. Stevenson writes the poem as if childhood -- and the garden -- were the present tense, but alludes to war and other serious and weighty concerns that will come with adulthood: "Years may go by, and the wheel in the river wheel as it wheels for us children today..."

Isn't it amazing and humbling how, even as we are changed so much by the passing years, some object, like the mill in the poem, can remain constant? And isn't it moving to go back and see that object of childhood fascination still there -- and turning yet?