My father read poetry to us when we were little. Years later, I still hear his voice when I come across these old poems again.
Dad loved A Child's Garden of Verses, 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."
When our two youngest grandchildren were staying here a couple of weeks ago, they'd been looking for a bedtime story from among the children's books we keep in the spare room. To my delight, I found the oldest was reading to her younger brother from a book of poems by A.A. Milne.
"Whose book was this, Grandma?" Its pages now are quite thin and discoloured, and some long-ago child had scribbled on them.
How could I resist reading a poem or two, the same ones I'd read to their mother?
"They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace --
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
'A soldier's life is terrible hard,'
Or, my favourite:
Weatherby George Dupree
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
Said to his Mother,
'Mother,' he said, said he;
'You must never go down to the end of the town, if
you don't go down with me.'"
How could you not share poetry with a child?