I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.
He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an errant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
Source: The Golden Book of Poetry (1947)
“Many years ago, when I used to be a salaried man – I had a small cubicle with a window overlooking a park. Every morning, a kid would prance up and down making funny gestures. Everyone thought he was crazy. This was quite a distance away. I was curious. So one morning, I decided to walk and see for myself what the fuss was all about - then it hit me, the kid was shadowing playing. And from the look of the people from the office window – I realized, they now saw two crazy people prancing up and down the pavement - they didn’t know, I didn’t tell them. Sometimes appearances can be deceptive, it always pays to reserve judgement till you have taken a closer look.”