Poem Project – entry #6 The Swing
The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
A Child’s Garden of Verses was a favorite of my family. We had a particular edition with illustrations by Gyo Fugikawa. This book was such a part of our childhood that my parents made sure we all had copies of it when we left home.
I can’t imagine a childhood without the recitation of poetry or lines from favorite books. My parents sometimes greeted each other with “Do you like my hat?” from Go, Dog, Go. A.A. Milne’s poetry was often chanted in our household – “James, James, Morrison, Morrison….” The connections to family memory, the cadence, rhyme, and imagery of the poems, are powerful elements of the poetry experience for me. I pity children that grow up without it.
My first poetry project was another of Stevenson’s poems, Where Go the Boats? I grew up in a family that enjoyed boats of all sizes so as a child I connected to the poem because floating vessels were part of family outings. Of course the wonderful thing about good poetry is that it isn’t just a one time experience. Reading verses again and again brings new connections to both imagery and language.
I’ll probably do another Stevenson poem over the course of the year but I’ve had The Swing poem floating in my mind for a while.