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Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.

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Monday, 30 July 2018

The Swing

Winter in Western Australia can bring some beautiful clear sunny blue sky days, and so it was on Sunday afternoon when we took our grandsons down to the playground along Koombana Bay in Bunbury. This playground opened in early 2018 and since then has been very popular with families and a great place for picnics along the sheltered shores of this family friendly safe beach. 


While we were there a girl was swinging on one of the swings, and it brought to mind a song I used to sing as a child when I was swinging on our back yard swing. My Dad had built us the swing attached to the side of his shed. And I used to try and swing so high that my feet would be level with the roof of the shed. A bit like what this girl in the photo below appeared to be doing. Watching her took me back to those years.


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,
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!

The swing tree
 
After I came home I searched on the net for the words to the poem (though I knew it as a song) and discovered that the poem was written by Robert Louis Stevenson. I only knew of his works Treasure Island (which we had studied as a novel in first year high-school), and Kidnapped. I don't know if I really enjoyed reading about the adventures of Jim with the pirate Long John SIlver, but study it I did, and I still have my copy of this book. 

I didn't know until yesterday that Robert Louis Stevenson had also written children's verse. First editions can still be purchased.

" First published in 1885, the first printing of A Child's Garden of Verses ran 1000 copies by Longhaus, Green and Co in London. This book was not illustrated until the 1896 edition, published 2 years after Stevenson's death. The collection contains about 65 poems, and many of the poems, including “The Land of Counterpane,” take a positive perspective on Stevenson's own childhood which was plagued by sickness. He dedicated the work to his nurse Alison Cunningham. 

Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, musician and travel writer. (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) Although he died at just forty four years old and suffered from ill health the majority of his life he managed to travel and write extensively in that short period. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Kidnapped, and A Child's Garden of Verses."
 biblio.com.au

Since then the book has been illustrated many times. One of the earliest illustrated editions was in 1905, published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith, it had a coloured illustrated title page and 12 full page colour plates, plus line drawings throughout.

How glorious are these illustrations!  I cannot confirm if the line drawing below is by Jessie Willcox Smith, but the colour illustration are.

Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith


Clicking on the link will take you to a selection of the poems.  A Child's Garden of Verse

And to finish a quote from the man himself - 


I couldn't find on You Tube the version of the "song" that I knew, but I rather like this version - with music by Linda Trillhaase


Thank you so much for stopping by. Did you know that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote poetry? Did you enjoy swinging as a child? Do you still swing? I think I need to ask my son to erect a granny style swing under the trees at his new place - no swinging my legs up high for me now though!


I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

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18 comments:

  1. Lovely images, Jill. I loved swinging as a child, pumping to go higher and higher while the wind blew through my hair. Now I push my grandchildren and they enjoy swinging. Once in awhile I'll swing, too, but I don't think I can go as high as I used to.
    I used to read Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry to my children. His rhymes evoke the simple magic of childhood.

    Have a great week.

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  2. I have a book of poetry by him and read it to my boys when they were growing up! I love that it was also put to music and you shared the song! I should get the book out and read it again! Enjoy your week!

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  3. Swings were my favorite! I felt so free swinging. Swing, swing, swing. That's a darling poem. If reminded me of A.A. Milne's poetry. Most likely I read Stevenson's poems in our elementary school English textbooks). I have yet to read his novels. Maybe it's time I do.

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  4. So lovely. Swinging brings back so many good childhood memories, does it not?

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  5. I love to go up in a swing (always did)! A nice post.

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  6. Lovely photos and illustrations, they took me back to my childhood, we read those books in Junior school but not his poetry. We didn't have a swing in the garden but I did use to enjoy going on those at the local park. I remember we used to stand up on them and bend our knees to make them go even higher!

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  7. Oh you hit another one right out of the ballpark with this post! Absolutely a lovely read, felt like I was young and carefree on a summer's day. I think I sort of remember he wrote poetry but this was a good refresher!

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    1. sometimes I wish I could be that carefree girl again.... but then whatever age we are never really carefree are we. :)

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  8. Hello Jill,
    Thank you for the dreamy capture of the girl swinging from the large old tree -heartwarming! Sounds it brought back good memories, as well as poetry!
    When thinking on my own childhood, I discovered there was no swing in my young years (the town did not have a play ground, and we only had a vegetable garden.). Many thanks for sharing this lovely experience with All Seasons, and enjoy your week!
    Jesh

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  9. Love your various photographs of swings - particularly the gnome! Gnomesville? But also the information about Robert Louis Stevenson and the pictorial children's verse " A Child's Garden of Verses". I think I had that book longgggg ago. Beautiful.

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  10. A Child's Garden of Verses: my favorite book from childhood. Oh, how I loved all his poems. I don't have the original that my father game me when I was nine but I see them on old books sites. I have a new edition.

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  11. I love to be on a swing! Even now as an adult lady...when I fit in them! LOL!

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  12. Ha! I knew it was Robert Louis Stevenson, because it was one of my favorites as well. I was surprised that even though I can't remember where my keys are, I could recited the whole poem!!!

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  13. Wonderful pictures - and the book is so beautiful!

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  14. Instead of a couch we have a "Hollywood-swing" in the living room, great for reading or watching TV :-)

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  15. Jill - I loved swinging as a child, and I still do (although, like you, I don't desire to go quite as high any more). I was not aware that Stevenson had written poetry, so thanks for enlightening us and sharing this wonderfully sentimental story from your childhood!

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  16. I have an old children's reader printed in 1905. It was my parent's. The Swing is included in the reader set to music by Clayton Thomas. I have not been able to find anything about Clayton Thomas. I love this poem and my Dad built a swing for my 4th birthday and I loved it.

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    1. Interesting isn't it. I have found various versions of the "song" on You Tube, but not the one I know. :(

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