My Favorite Things (and a giveaway!) by Cheryl Pierson



I have a LOT of “favorite things” – probably like most of y’all do. But one of them that is kind of unique, in a way, is poetry of all kinds. This might seem natural for someone who is a writer, but I don’t think that’s always the case.

For instance, in the world of music, I can APPRECIATE what the Beatles did for music and especially for rock and roll—no doubt they were talented in so many ways, and influenced the world of music for generations to come—but I was not ever a huge fan of their music. So that being said, I think there are a lot of people who are excellent writers but aren’t very interested in poetry.

I was read to a LOT by my family when I was young, and of course, nursery rhymes were the beginning of my love of verse. Then, of course, the songs that I learned were my second “teacher” of rhythm and rhyme.

Isn’t it amazing how lines from a poem can affect us our entire lives? Sometimes, the patterns of the rhythm and rhyme of poetry can reach us as nothing else can.

Growing up in the 60’s, the wonderful music all around me at that time fortified my love of poetry. There are too many songs to mention, but like the old Cotton, Inc., commercial used to say, it was “the fabric of our lives” and remains that way.

Do you remember a favorite childhood poem? Remember the one by Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Swing”? Here’s the first verse:

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!

Simple, yes? There is a tune that goes with it. I can’t tell you how often I sang that as I swung on my own swing set as a kid. Great memories! Here’s a portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson–he was fairly young when he died but he left a wonderful legacy of poetry and stories!


A few years older, enter “Puff, the Magic Dragon”, written by Leonard Lipton/Peter Yarrow. Peter Yarrow was the “Peter” of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. There have been lots of explanations of the lyrics, but to me, it was always about the boy, Jackie Paper, growing up and losing his childlike imagination. Puff is relegated to going back to his cave by the end of the song since Jackie is grown now, but here is the hopeful beginning verse:

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea

And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee

Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff

And brought him strings, and sealing wax, and other fancy stuff.


Of course, I vowed I would never be like Jackie—I would ALWAYS keep my imagination! (I think I was successful in that!) LOL

By the time I was in middle school, we had memorized countless poems—an assignment most of my classmates detested, but I actually loved. I had two favorites in elementary school, and both of these were 4th grade assignments. I remember well, because my teacher that year had us memorize a lot of poetry. These were the two I loved best, and here is a link of Robert Frost reading some of his poems–a rare glimpse of an author such as this reading his works. The second one, I believe,  is “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”:


“Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost     

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.


My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.



“Windy Nights” by Robert Louis Stevenson

Whenever the moon and stars are set,

Whenever the wind is high,

All night long in the dark and wet,

A man goes riding by.

Late in the night when the fires are out,

Why does he gallop and gallop about?


Whenever the trees are crying aloud,

And ships are tossed at sea,

By, on the highway, low and loud,

By at the gallop goes he.

By at the gallop he goes, and then

By he comes back at the gallop again.


Evidently, I had a love for windy nights and highwaymen, because this one caught my eye during high school days. This is a very long story poem that was also set to music by Loreena McKennitt, and I’ve included the link here for the entire version of this masterpiece, and also will include the video of Loreena McKennitt’s version set to music. It is really beautiful!


The Highwayman




The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.

The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.

The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,

And the highwayman came riding—


The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.


He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,

A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin.

They fitted with never a wrinkle. His boots were up to the thigh.

And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,

His pistol butts a-twinkle,

His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.


Here’s the video of Loreena McKennitt’s version–just a lovely rendition!

As you can see, I had an affinity for handsome, rugged, ‘heroes’ (or anti-heroes) from a very young age—because of poems like these that brought them to life!

As for the softer romantic side of things, this was always a favorite—short, simple, and impactful:


Jenny Kiss’d Me


Jenny kiss’d me when we met,

Jumping from the chair she sat in;

Time, you thief, who love to get

Sweets into your list, put that in!

Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,

Say that health and wealth have miss’d me,

Say I’m growing old, but add,

Jenny kiss’d me.


There are far too many favorites to list here! This barely scratches the surface at different times in my life, and were memorable for all different kinds of reasons.

Probably one of my favorite poems of all is “The Listeners” by Walter de la Mare. Many of his poems had a kind of mystical, mysterious quality to them, and this is one of the best. Another one we memorized in high school. I’ve included an image of  a drawing of the author below.


The Listeners


‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,                               

Knocking on the moonlit door;

And his horse in the silence champed the grasses

Of the forest’s ferny floor:

And a bird flew up out of the turret,

Above the Traveller’s head:

And he smote upon the door again a second time;

‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.

But no one descended to the Traveller;

No head from the leaf-fringed sill

Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,

Where he stood perplexed and still.

But only a host of phantom listeners

That dwelt in the lone house then

Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight

To that voice from the world of men:

Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,

That goes down to the empty hall,

Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken

By the lonely Traveller’s call.

And he felt in his heart their strangeness,

Their stillness answering his cry,

While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,

’Neath the starred and leafy sky;

For he suddenly smote on the door, even

Louder, and lifted his head:—

‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,

That I kept my word,’ he said.

Never the least stir made the listeners,

Though every word he spake

Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house

From the one man left awake:

Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,

And the sound of iron on stone,

And how the silence surged softly backward,

When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Do you have a favorite poem? The words in poetry form can be so impactful and meaningful, not just in “regular” poetry, but also in beautiful harmony with music. Ballads, story-poems, hymns—so many ways of expression!

What is a favorite poem of yours? Leave me a comment about your favorite poem and why you love it so much for a chance to win a digital copy of my latest book, LOVE UNDER FIRE, the third book in the PINK PISTOL SISTERHOOD SERIES! Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting and taking a trip down memory lane with me and some of my favorite poems!