Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Swing

I believe this poem is classified as a nursery rhyme, but I still think it’s one of the loveliest pieces ever written.

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,
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!

A writing instructor once told me that with poetry, you have to make every word count. This poem only has eighty-one of them, yet it perfectly captures the exhilaration of being on a swing. I learned a lot from that teacher, but I still struggle and strive to do what appears effortless to Stevenson.

Until next time,


Marin Thomas said...

Lee--that's so true--making every word count! Finding the right word can be fun, a challenge and frustrating all at once. But it's an important part of the writing process and one that shouldn't be taken lightly.

Marin Thomas
Samantha's Cowboy (Aug 09)

Anonymous said...

I love RLS too.
I have my Child's Garden of Verses and my husband still has his, too. His is older than mine (g)

I think I like RL's adult poems as much as his children's stuff.

Tam O'Shanter's wife, waiting for a gallivanting Tam to come home and "nursing her wrath to keep her warm" – every word not only counts but captures that emotion perfectly!

Lee McKenzie said...

I agree, Marin. It is fun. Believe it or not, I have three thesauruses!

Lee McKenzie said...

LOL, Anonymous, re: who has the oldest book!

IMO, A Child's Garden of Verses is still a must-have on a child's bookshelf.