Shel Silverstein has been part of my life since my parents first read Free to Be . . .You and Me*, and let me put the record album on my Mickey Mouse portable turntable. I was given Where the Sidewalk Ends for Christmas the year it came out.
That’s a long time.
Mr. Silverstein is the reason I know how to make a hippopotamus sandwich and how to eat a whale. He’s the reason my favorite empty threat is to sell my kids to the Gypsies (“But, Mommy, they never buy the bad ones!”). And he’s the reason I know wishing for wishes is a bad idea and unicorns aren’t too bright.
It doesn’t matter that Runny Babbit gives me aneurysms and The Giving Tree doesn’t quite work for me.**
His poetry does.
Sandra’s seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblin gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I’ve had to make myself.
I almost went with the Tall Tale Kid here, but just feel the rhythms in this one:
Ol’ man Simon, planted a diamond,
Grew hisself a garden the likes of none.
Sprouts all growin’, comin’ up glowin’,
Fruit of jewels all shinin’ in the sun.
Colors of the rainbow,
See the sun and rain grow
Sapphires and rubies on ivory vines,
Grapes of jade, just
Ready for the squeezin’ into green jade wine.
Pure gold corn there,
Blowin’ in the warm air,
Ol’ crow nibblin’ on the amnythyst seeds.
In between the diamonds, ol’ man Simon
Crawls about pullin’ out platinum weeds.
Pink pearl berries,
All you can carry,
Put ’em in a bushel and
Haul ’em into town.
Up in the tree there’s
Opal nuts and gold pears–
Hurry quick, grab a stick
And shake some down.
Take a silver tater,
Fresh plump coral melons
Hangin’ in reach.
Ol’ man Simon,
Diggin’ in his diamonds,
Stops and rests and dreams about
A special brownie point to anyone who can name the poem that goes with the image at the top of this post!
What’s your favorite Shel Silverstein poem? Or, in the unlikely event you don’t have one, why not?
*And what the hell is that title song doing in a Target commercial? Don’t answer that, please, I’m too busy to blow a gasket right now.
** This is Poetry Wednesday, not Sarah Explains the Difference Between Unconditional Love and Profound Co-dependence Wednesday.