Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | May 5, 2010

Robert Louis Stevenson – I’m a fan

A parcel arrived today from the UK containing my own little “Child’s Garden of Verses” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

During the recent visit of my mother-in-law’s sister, Great Aunty Pam, I was delighted to see the two of them reciting some poems they remembered from their childhood growing up in Swaffam, Norfolk, England.

Ali has a valuable first edition of this book (1885) so I was being very cagey around my piece of cake and cup of coffee (read: real blimmin nervous!)  even though they are both fans of books being read, no matter how old!

The two of them would recite, either on their own or in unison (occasionally pausing to debate one word or another) with the odd prompt from me for the next verse. It was delightful.

I don’t remember any great verses like these in my childhood.  We would occasionally get Sam Hunt thrust down our throats at secondary school, but nothing has ever tickled my poetic fancy like some of these do!

Anyway, Great Aunty Pam (called so because she’s great, not to mention the children’s great aunt) found me a new Penguin paperback of this gorgeous book. And I am devouring it all over again.

 Here’s “The Swing”

How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it is 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!

 Can’t you just imagine the swing – can’t you just imagine your hair blowing in the breeze as you swing?!

One of my favourite things about taking my kids to a playground is getting to play on the swings myself (although I’m too chicken to go as high as I used to!)



  1. Did your Great Uncle Mervyn not read you any poems – poor wee darling

    • LOL Mum, he read me many things but alas, I can’t remember any great poetry! For those who don’t know, Uncle Mervyn was my grandfather’s cousin. He came to paint the house when I was about a year old and stayed almost 10 years! As well as being the odd-job man, he was my number one fan (Mum had four girls in six years – I was last – they saw me and gave up – perfection or scared of things getting even worse than me?)

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