Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson

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 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!
--Robert Louis Stevenson

This is one of my favorite poems ever. I love how the lines have a swinging rhythm so you feel like you're really going up and down as you read it aloud. I like that it's a simple poem about a simple pleasure. I think it's a shame that "one of the pleasantest things that ever a child can do" is seldom possible for adults to do in the same way. Swing sets at parks are designed for children. As an adult, you can sometimes manage, but generally, your hips are too wide to be comfortable between the chains, and your legs are too long to pump them adequately on the downswing without running into the ground, and the chains are too short to let you really get going as high as you'd like. I suppose it makes sense from a safety and liability point of view -- an adult swinging high and trying some silly stunt like jumping off or doing a backflip out of the swing could really hurt themselves, and a child on an adult set would also potentially be in more danger. All the same, I really enjoyed swinging on the one Mike and Dad put up in Riverside -- even if I did worry constantly about the seat breaking.

No comments:

Post a Comment