“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


The Swing

Monday, April 17, 2006

Almost a year and a half ago we were in Florida visiting the Geek's parents for Christmas. While we were there, the whole family (the Fish and Fishwife, the Scholar, and Geek and Geekwif) all went to a bookstore one afternoon. While we were there I noticed a table full of small volumes of poetry for $5.00 each.

One volume in particular caught my eye. It was by
Robert Louis Stevenson. For some reason, in that moment I got him mixed up with Robert Frost, one of my few favorite poets. (Please don't ask why. I have no explanation.) I glanced inside the book briefly while commenting to the Fishwife and Scholar that RLS was one of my favorites. I thought it strange that none of the poems I saw there looked like those I knew him for, but since it was a quick glance, I didn't think too much of it before taking it to the register. (Even a cheapskate like me can handle $5.00 for a book of poetry.)

Later on I realized my mistake and felt incredibly silly for it. I still have that book, but I've found that my favorite of Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry is his Child's Garden of Verses. Call me crazy. I don't mind. Some of these poems were in that
duct-taped volume of Mother Goose poems from my childhood. Here is a sample of one of my favorites.

The Swing
Robert Louis Stevenson

From A Child's Garden of Verses

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,

River 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!


At 4/18/2006 11:02 PM, Blogger Mom Nancy wrote:

I had that book when I was a kid and I remember that poem! I hadn't thought about it in years until I read this. I remember memorizing "My Shadow" (Not sure if that is the title) as a kid and it still goes through my head when I'm out in the sunshine.

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.

Thanks for the memories.

At 4/18/2006 11:15 PM, Anonymous hot rod mama wrote:

Ditto thanks for the memories both to the geekwif and to you, Nancy. I remember reading "The Swing" to you, gw, and I remember loving "My Shadow" as a child.
Do any of you know "Trees"? . . ."poems are made by fools like me but only God can make a tree." It was geekwif's grandma's and my favorite. Oh, how I love to reminisce.
PS Seems weird to refer to my daughter as the geekwif.

At 4/20/2006 8:04 AM, Blogger Faith wrote:

I love this poem and that book!

I also love this new look of yours. Woohoo!

At 4/21/2006 8:13 AM, Blogger Kristi wrote:

I love this poem too! Thanks for sharing it.

At 4/22/2006 4:27 PM, Anonymous HolyMama! wrote:

ohmigosh i have to go. i've been catching up here and reading and i have to get out the door, but i wanted to at least leave one stupid comment rather than none at all. oh geez.

At 4/24/2006 10:50 PM, Blogger Blond Girl wrote:

OK... it's been a week. Post?!?!?

At 4/25/2006 1:50 AM, Blogger Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) wrote:

now that was a good mistake! I love RLS - he is wonderful.

I have my mom's copy of A Child's Garden of Verses and now my son has it. I cherish it.

love your blog!

At 4/25/2006 1:32 PM, Blogger moe wrote:

I love a Child's Garden of Verses. I was looking for years for the same one I had when I was a kid. My Grandmother used to read it to me. Last Christmas my husband asked my dad for his and gave it to me for Christmas. I cried when I opened it. My husband is the greatest.

At 4/25/2006 2:58 PM, Blogger Susan wrote:

Hello? Is anyone home? We miss reading you. It's been over a week now....

At 4/29/2006 5:18 PM, Blogger Jan wrote:

Do you remember his poem about the Land of Counterpane? (that's a bedspread to us). About a child sick in bed, and playing with his toys on the bed. I love his poems. Thanks for sharing, and the picture is perfect!


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