Celebrating Poetry With Frances

Happy Mother’s Day

I am celebrating Mother’s Day with my mother, Frances. Although we are, for a time, separated by COVID-19, Frances and I remain connected via technology.

Frances introduced me to poetry. Over the years, poetry has been a source of joy and entertainment, a way in which I have learned to feel emotions through words.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem, “The Swing” was the first poem I memorized. I recall repeating the words with my mother’s help until I could recite the words in my sleep. The first sentence – how do you like to go up in a swing – was in a form of a question. It was an invitation to share a conversation.

Come – join me on the Vancouver Seawall and say the words with me.

How do you like to go up in a swing…

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,
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!

54 Thoughts

  1. What a lovely poem this is. I must confess that this is the first time I’ve heard it. How fortuitous for you that Frances was a poetry lover. Your Vancouver evening looks really gorgeous and peaceful. Happy Mother’s Day to both Frances and yourself. I hope it won’t be too long before you can be together again. 🤗🤗😘😘

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Every day, I receive a poem in my e-mail in-box. One day, I received “The Swing” which brought back so many memories when I read the familiar words. I appreciated your post on simplicity, Sylvia – that the seemingly little things because the most profound memories. Thank you so much for your visit and heartwarming comments. Hugs and more hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I was reading the back story on RLS’s poetry book, A Child’s Garden of Verses. I read that he dedicated the poems to his nurse Cummy (Alison Cunningham), who cared for him during his many childhood illnesses. I can only imagine the comfort he felt by having someone care for him when he was so sick. Thank you for joining the Mother’s Day Celebration. I was looking up quotes about motherhood etc and found this gem by Gilda Radner: “Motherhood is] the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary–it’s an act of infinite optimism.” Sending hugs!

      Liked by 4 people

  2. What a beautiful photo of you and your mother! I remember that poem, and when I was a child, our family had a record of RLS poems put to music, including that one about the swing. I don’t remember the musicians. It was two women.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Lavinia. The photo was taken last year, just before social distancing protocol became more restrictive. We were standing outside of our favourite garden in North Vancouver. How wonderful to be able to listen to the poems of RLS put to music. I remember we had a record of Treasure Island by RLS. We listened to the record over and over again. The record was scratched beyond recognition. And still we played it, which is a testament to the power of storytelling.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you again, Rebecca, for putting my latest book of poetry, Poetry in Brief – a day in a life – book number seventeen. Thus if I may, an extra special thanks, and bravo to your mother, Frances, for having taught you to appreciate the pleasures of reading poetry. That which in turn gave Marianne and I the oppertunity to know, Rebecca and Don, whom we have come to consider our wonderful Vancouver friends!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I am so excited to have your book of poetry in e-book and paperback format, Jean-Jacques! This is the poem that started out my day:

      Wouldn’t
      – it be wonderful –

      Justly wouldn’t,
      It be wonderful
      Should we abide,
      In entire accord
      Reason to decide,
      Fate devised way
      For all to survive,
      Without any side
      Said we as human,
      Must’ve meant be!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t know that poem, but it does evoke the sheer joy of childhood swings, especially when you progress beyond having to be pushed by your patient parent. I often think adults should have swings for great exercise and mental relaxation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree wholeheartedly that adults should have swings. It would be a great way to eliminate angst from our day. I think we forget that play should continue to part of our lives. I am delighted that you stopped by! Thank you for your comments – very much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My lord, I saw your title up came the picture and even before i started reading, i thought this HAS to be Rebecca’s mam. You are so alike, bone structure, smile. A happy day to you both. We had ours back in March. May you be together soon. Also RL Stevenson was the first author I adored. He wrote some wonderful poems from a child’s perspective and this is one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have given me the greatest compliment – to look like my mother. Thank you, my dear friend !!! I just went back to the RLS’s “A Child’s Garden of Verses” and reread the first poem “To Alison Cunningham” from her boy. “From her boy” is poignant and a testament to the care that was given to him when he was so ill.

      “For the long nights you lay awake
      And watched for my unworthy sake:
      For your most comfortable hand
      That led me through the uneven land:
      For all the story-books you read:
      For all the pains you comforted:”

      Without Alison Cunningham we may never have been given the gifts of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, or the Strange Case of D Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a delightful poem! My mother used to read A.A. Milne poetry to me, and my favorites are from When We Were Very Young. I still love them, especially “The Four Friends”… 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. A.A. Milne’s poetry is fabulous! I had to reread “The Four Friends” and found this link: https://allpoetry.com/The-Four-Friends.

      “Ernest was an elephant, a great big fellow,
      Leonard was a lion with a six foot tail,
      George was a goat, and his beard was yellow,
      And James was a very small snail. “

      A.A. Milne understand to power and value of friendship. I am delighted that we celebrated Mother’s Day together. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. What a lovely Mother’s Day tribute to your mom, to poetry, and to beautiful scenery, Rebecca! It has been a pleasure to converse with Frances on Facebook most days. Rebecca, you have an amazing mother, and, Frances, you have an amazing daughter!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Misty has become a wonderful companion for Frances! She looks forward to every one of Misty’s adventures into the unknown. His wisdom, humour and patience with humanity is remarkable. We owe so much to our four-legged friends. They seem to understand us more than we understand them. Welcome to a new week of Misty adventures.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you, Rebecca, for the kind words about Misty the cat and the wise words about our animal friends! I always look forward to what Misty will do next during his outside leashed walks — and I’m glad Frances, you, and others enjoy his escapades, too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Your very first poem. I can see that little girl reciting and glowing with it. On another note- the photo of your and your mum together- you can really see your mum in your face Rebecca. And finally with regards to swings.. why can’t they have playgrounds for adults? I would love to play on the slide and swings and roudabout again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Paul you have the very best ideas. I would love that have playgrounds for adults. Every time I walk by a swing, I feel an urge to take it up for a spin. Alas! What I especially liked about your book, Thomas the Rhymer, was the poetry, which came through brilliantly in your reading on TTT.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Robbie – you write and say the nicest things. I didn’t know that there were ducks swimming behind me until I saw the video. I am enjoying your and Kim Blades’s poetry book “Open a New Door” I especially appreciated this stanza from your poem, “The Golden Light”

      “A book and a love of reading
      A gift worth its weight in gold
      To watch them embrace a story
      And its delightful adventure unfold.”

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, I remember this poem, and especially the sound of your voice as you recited it. Your father enjoyed hearing you and was so proud of you. You learned this before you went to school, you were a quick learner. And, that gift of learning has stood by you faithfully all your life. You and your brother, Wesley had a long, very cold walk to school in that far north town, Lynn Lake, Manitoba. Thank you for this precious memory to celebrate my Mothers Day, so special to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you liked the reading. What a great poem to start my poetry journey. I am thinking that I should go back to memorizing poetry and build up my memory. Something to think about!! Those Lynn Lake walks were character building! Happy memories. Happy Mother’s Day, Frances.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello. I was in Edinburgh in 2019, and saw from the outside the house that RLS grew up in. A park is across the street. Wouldn’t surprise me if there were swings there at that time and, if so, that they inspired the poem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How wonderful you were able to see the house that RLS lived in growing up. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comments. Isn’t Edinburgh an amazing city!!! The streets are energized by the art, music (love those bagpipers) and history.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Happy Mother’s Day Frances! Rebecca, I don’t know if you are a mother?
    Anyway you made this beautiful and special post for Frances. I enjoyed the poem, listening to you read, and the ducks. It was very hard not to watch the ducks.
    I memorized many poems over my youth and early adulthood. I have forgotten parts of some, but a few remain, in my brain intact.
    First to pop up – “My Luve Is Like A Red Red Rose” – Robert Burns.
    Sending Luve!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for joining me on Mother’s Day celebration. I didn’t know that the ducks were behind me until I replayed the video. They have a gentle speed and never appear to be in a hurry – well until the sea gulls appear and there is a bit of squabble until everyone figures out how to “live” together. There is a life lesson here somewhere – they seem be able to find the balance much quicker than humans do. Again, a reminder that we may not be the most advance creature to walk this earth. Ah, I will be singing that Robert Burns song all day. Thomas, my son, plays this song on the bagpipes. I enjoy our conversation, Resa!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah.. your son plays it on the pipes. LOVE the pipes!
        You are a mother.
        You were presenting life in the front, as it played out with ducks and gulls in the BG. Perfect!
        I enjoyed your podcast with Diana, a lot! I left a comment. She’s a fab reader, like you, but very different voices!

        Liked by 2 people

  12. I love the image of you and your mother. And then I read your mother’s response. Oh, Rebecca, how joyful that was. And to know how proud your father was, sent a tingle down my spine.
    xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comments, Carolyn. Stories, poetry and reading bind us together. My father passed 10 years ago and yet, he remains with me in the profound memories of conversations shared throughout the years. Sending many hugs back your way!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. It is not my intention to hijack this thread but to share in the joy of swinging. Here is one of the lights of my life, my DownsSyndrome nephew. Our outtings often ended at the swings of the local state park beach:

    https://dunelight.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/summer-from-the-top-of-a-swing/

    Something, something..great minds.. the joy of it. I have other shots of kids playing on, jumping out of swings…don’t remember where they were posted. Tangential…I love this blog. Here is an old picture of young women on swings:

    https://tokensofcompanionship.blog/2017/08/07/young-women-posed-around-a-swing-in-michigan/

    enjoy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comments that added breadth and depth to this conversation. Your nephew is having the most amazing time on the swing. Warms my heart. Thank you for the introduction to Brad’s website and his collection of vintage photographs. I am delighted that we connected!

      Liked by 2 people

  14. What a wonderful mom to take the time to teach you poetry and help you memorize Stevenson’s poem. It was delightful to listen to you read it, Rebecca, and think of you performing it as a child. So wonderful. I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Diana. Your thoughts this morning on a mother’s song resonated. We remember their songs and add our lyrics and melodies as we move forward. Poetry brings us together, doesn’t it?

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined me in nature. How lovely to hear from you, Inese! Please take care of yourself! Sending hugs and lots of positive thoughts for your speedy recovery.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This is lovely, Rebecca. I feel terrible that I missed this post, because I adore Ms. Frances. I admit that I have to disconnect from social media at Mother’s Day… But that doesn’t change the fact that this is a lovely post. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Teagan – you have come at the very best moment of all. Always enjoy our conversations. Sending many hugs back on the wing. I’ll be in contact with you on another reading. So excited about Dead of Winter.

      Liked by 1 person

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