Friday, January 22, 2010

The Swing {Poetry Friday}

The Swing

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 could do.

Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,

Rivers and trees and cattle and all

Over the country side-

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.

Robert Louis Stevenson

"This couldn't be a poem!", was my first reaction when I found this poem. I was a young teacher, flipping through a new poetry anthology in my 2/3 multi-age classroom, it was actually my first year of teaching. This is a SONG my Grandmother would sing to me while she pushed me on a swing. It has a tune. She must of tweaked the words, I know she said something about Leonard's farm. This all ran through my head at the time. See, my grandmother lived in the country, she had some acres, with a garden, cows next door and a swing out back to an old tree just for our enjoyment. I spent so many hours there growing up and the whole image that floods to my mind is as clear as if I was there doing it all again. Poetry is a wonderful text to use for connections, fluency, word work, mental images, but most of all enjoyment. Embrace poetry without dissecting it first.

I currently have this poem in a collection put together by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, Here's a Little Poem. A subtitle for this book is, A Very First Book of Poetry. Which is so true. I bought this for my youngest as a toddler and wish I had it for the two older girls. She would request poetry for her bedtime read aloud as a preschooler. The illustrations done by Polly Dunbar are very delightful, colorful, and whimsical. We should expose our youngest learners to more poetry. I need to think about that more and these thoughts about embracing it without dissecting it in the classroom.


  1. This has long been one of my favorites, Mandy. Thanks for sharing. I'd LOVE to hear it sung!

  2. Love that poem! It is always kind of singy in my head so your version on the farm is just right.

  3. I've always loved that poem! I love the idea of it as a song!

  4. I have so many good memories of time spent on a swing!

  5. Wishing you could sing it for us. I'd love to hear the melody!!

  6. p.s. I read this to my kids tonight and they knew it from watching Bullwinkle!!