This unknown boy is using a nice bed tray to properly elevate his book for optimal reading posture. I have often wondered about the purpose of the photo. It is a matte print that reminds me of a professional photograph. Perhaps it was for an advertisement or magazine. From the time I found the photo to the moment I saw the prompt for this week’s Sepia Saturday, I kept thinking it reminded me of something, but I wasn’t sure just what. Finally it dawned on me that it reminds me of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem “The Land of Counterpane.”
When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;
And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.
I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.
I always liked the imagery in the poem. Even as a child of the 1970s, I knew that a counterpane is a bed spread, that small boys used to play with toy soldiers, and that imagination could rescue you from boredom. I sometimes thought I would like a set of toy soldiers and trees and houses, but alas, that did not come to be.
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