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Keepsake Mill is a poem from one of the first, and most famous, collections of poetry written specifically for children: A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, and for much of his life was dogged by ill-health. He finally moved to Samoa where he spent the last five years of his life, hoping that the warmer climate would alleviate his health issues.
Keepsake Mill is typical of many of his poems, where the safety and security of home is contrasted with the things that might be seen while wandering the countryside. Always though, these 'marvellous places' are 'handy to home'.
The predominant image in this poem is the water-wheel turning in the river at the mill: '…turning and churning that river to foam'. The music seeks to evoke this movement with almost constant triplet rhythms in the piano accompaniment.
Commissioned by Kentoris at Saint Kentigern College, Auckland and conductor Ross Gerritsen
Text by Robert Louis Stevenson
16 Jun 2009: Performed by Kentoris at Auckland Town Hall in Auckland