Christmas at Sea by Robert Louis Stevenson (poetry)
What do we really know about Robert Louis Stevenson besides the fact that he wrote Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? These well-known and beloved literary works are of course the those we remember. I didn’t even know he wrote poetry, only that he wrote travel essays and adventure novels.
On my Christmas readalong I decided to read a bunch of Christmas literature written by both old and new writers. This one wasn’t even on my list, but I really enjoyed it!
It is interesting to see how a writer can write poetry about Christmas and not give you the wanted “Oh I can’t wait for Christmas”-vibe but rather a feeling of nostalgia, sorrow and remembrance of the times we have lost.
The language is beautiful, vivid in its visual images and sets the mind going. The atmosphere creates the feeling of a rocking ship and the fear of sinking.
It’s fascinating to see how writers from (1700-1800s) were inspired by adventure, travels and it’s obvious that the Imperialistic attitude and consciousness were still in the mind of many. Like the character of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, the wish is for adventure and climbing up the social ladder instead of walking in the footsteps of one’s father, which is interesting to read about. Although, Robert Louis Stevenson does not linger on the issue of Christmas, there are many beautiful emotions and thoughts behind the idea of this poem: adventure, the life at sea, leaving home and the individual’s self-journey.
The frost was on the village roofs as white as oceans foam; The good red fires were burning bright in every ‘longshore home
A beautiful poem that I can only recommend for a winter day in December!