Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Knocking Holes

Robert Louis Stevenson with his mother

When I was a child I loved the poet Robert Louis Stevenson and still remember being holed up in my bed with pneumonia, a copy of his A Child's Garden of Verses in my hands. 

I read this over at SecondSister Suaviloquy and loved it so much that I had to post it here. It was heard on an interview on NPR on Martin Luther King day.

It is said that Robert Louis Stevenson was a man who never enjoyed good 
health. He spent a lot of time in his room even as a child. He was always looking out the window. His nurse asked him one day, Robert, what are you doing? He said, I'm watching that old man knock holes in the darkness. She said, what are you talking about?

He would climb up the ladder and light the light, come down, move the ladder to the next pole, climb up, come down, move the ladder. And everywhere he would light a light it appeared to him with his little quick mind that a hole was being knocked in the darkness.

And so I'm suggesting that those of us who have the strength and the ability, we should be knocking holes in the darkness. So, Martin Luther King came to Memphis - it was a dark place to come, but he came and he came knocking holes in the darkness. 


  1. this is so beautiful. Thank you for this. I'm going to remember it.

  2. Yes indeed. Like your card said this has done for me: Let no one ever come to you without leaving better.
    You and Mother Teresa, different times, same kind of love.

  3. Beautiful. And you know, so many people from RLS to Ringo Starr spent a lot of time alone in bed as children with various illness who grew up to be amazing artists. I think about that a lot.

  4. That's a lovely way of looking at something so ordinary (as it was in his day). His sensibility was very different, wasn't it? Thank you for posting this; I'd never heard it before.

    But I gotta ask this: Why did his mother have him wearing a dress? That just doesn't seem like a good idea.

  5. Karen -- I have to giggle at your comment about his dress. At first I was going to comment on it because some of the other photos were outrageous! I'm not sure what was going on there psychologically but it doesn't look good...

  6. I read it over at Second Sister too!
    worth a second read...

  7. and yeah...the dress is questionable...

  8. I can always appreciate a good metaphor, and this one was beautiful.

  9. I got shivers with the brilliance of this.

    Yes, let's


  10. I like that image a lot. It fits in so many instances. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Yes. Knocking holes in the darkness. Excellent for cardio health and strength building.

  12. Dear Elizabeth,
    I'd heard the NPR interview this weekend, but I was SO glad to be reminded of it today after yesterday's "results". Thank you for that. - CW

  13. He (RLS) sent a lot of time in "the land of counterpane" I would imagine. It's a beautiful and childlike image of hope - the hole knocker.

  14. I love this .
    And I love coming here and learning, and receiving and being stretched and reminded.

    You are a hole knocker.

  15. This is exactly what I needed to hear today- there has much illness in our little nest over the last 3 mos..thank you for sharing. I think I'll post to mine as well so that I'll have to too look on. Thanks for ocming visiting!



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