Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

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I grew up on this book of poems by this wonderful man and really just wanted to write a review (and today by review I mean list out some favorite poems) of something I love without having to put any real effort in. It’s midterms, guys. I’m holding onto dear life by the end of a string.

LISTEN TO THE MUSTN’TS

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DONT’S
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT’S
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

 

RAIN
– when I was little I liked to play in the rain for hours and this poem always brings me back to that-

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.
I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

 

SARAH CYNTHIA SYLVIA STOUT

 Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out.
She’d wash the dishes and scrub the pans
Cook the yams and spice the hams,
And though her parents would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up to the ceiling:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown bananas and rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese.
It filled the can, it covered the floor,
It cracked the windows and blocked the door,
With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
Drippy ends of ice cream cones,
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peels,
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,
Pizza crusts and withered greens,
Soggy beans, and tangerines,
Crusts of black-burned buttered toast,
Grisly bits of beefy roast.
The garbage rolled on down the halls,
It raised the roof, it broke the walls,
I mean, greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,
Blobs of gooey bubble gum,
Cellophane from old bologna,
Rubbery, blubbery macaroni,
Peanut butter, caked and dry,
Curdled milk, and crusts of pie,
Rotting melons, dried-up mustard,
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,
Cold French fries and rancid meat,
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.
At last the garbage reached so high
That finally it touched the sky,
And none of her friends would come to play,
And all of her neighbors moved away;
And finally, Sarah Cynthia Stout
Said, “Okay, I’ll take the garbage out!”
But then, of course it was too late,
The garbage reached across the state,
From New York to the Golden Gate;
And there in the garbage she did hate
Poor Sarah met an awful fate
That I cannot right now relate
Because the hour is much too late
But children, remember Sarah Stout,
And always take the garbage out.

TREE HOUSE

A tree house, a free house,
A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches,
Cozy as can be house.
A street house, a neat house,
Be sure and wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all-
Let’s go live in a tree house.

 

THE BATTLE

Would you like to hear
Of the terrible night
When I bravely fought the-
No?
All right.

ALICE
only in reading this poem now that I’m older do I realize how meaningful this one is and I kind of adore it? –

She drank from a bottle called DRINK ME
And up she grew up so tall,
She ate from a plate called TASTE ME
And down she shrank so small.
And so she changed, while other folks
Never tried nothin’ at all.

 

IF THE WORLD WAS CRAZY
this poem is so imaginative and I’ve always loved it. As a kid I thought of this poem as the one thing that got me. I didn’t like viewing the world as anything but topsy turvy and a creative space. Even now I like to think of the world as upside down sometimes

If the world was crazy, you know what I’d eat?
A big slice of soup and a whole quart of meat
A lemonade sandwich, and then I might try
Some roasted ice cream or a bicycle pie
A nice notebook salad, an underwear roast
An omelet of hats and some crisp cardboard toast
A thick malted milk made from pencils and daisies
And that’s what I’d eat if the world was crazy
If the world was crazy, you know what I’d wear?
A chocolate suit and a tie of eclair
Some marshmallow earmuffs, some licorice shoes
And I’d read a paper of peppermint news
I’d call the boys “Suzy” and I’d call the girls “Harry,”
I’d talk through my ears, and I always would carry
A paper umbrella for when it grew hazy
To keep in the rain, if the world was crazy
If the world was crazy, you know what I’d do?
I’d walk on the ocean and swim in my shoe
I’d fly through the ground and I’d skip through the air
I’d run down the bathtub and bathe on the stair
When I met somebody I’d say “G’bye, Joe,”
And when I was leaving–then I’d say “Hello.”
And the greatest of men would be silly and lazy
So I would be king…if the world was crazy

 

FORGOTTEN LANGUAGE
this is kind of a bittersweet poem that makes me feel very nostalgic and there’s just something about it that I really like –

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And I shared a conversation with the housefly in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers….
How did it go?
How did it go?

 

HUNGRY MUNGRY
– this poem was definitely one of my favorites and read it all the time because I’ve always loved to eat and little me was enamored with Mungry, who did the same –

Hungry Mungry sat at supper, took his knife and spoon and fork,
Ate a bowl of mushroom soup, ate a slice of roasted pork,
Ate a dozen stewed tomatoes,
twenty-seven deviled eggs,
Fifteen shrimps, nine baked potatoes, thirty-two fried chicken
legs,
A shank of lamb; a boiled ham, two
bowls of grits, some black-eye
peas,
Four chocolate shakes, eight angel cakes, nine custard pies with Muenster
cheese,
Ten pots of tea, and after he Had eaten all that he was able,
He poured some broth on the tablecloth and ate the kitchen table.
His parents said, “Oh Hungry Mungry, stop these silly jokes.”
Mungry opened up his mouth,
and “Gulp,” he ate his folks.
And then he went and ate his house, all the bricks and wood,
And then he ate up all the people in the neighborhood.
Up came twenty angry policemen shouting, “Stop and cease.”
Mungry opened up his mouth and
“Gulp,” he ate the police.
Soldiers came with tanks and guns. Said Mungry, “They cant harm me.”
He just smiled and licked his lips and ate the U.S. Army.
Put his head back, gulped the planes, and gobbled up the
bomb.
He ate his town and ate the city – ate and ate and ate —
And then he said, “I think I’ll eat the whole United States.”
And so he ate Chicago first and munched the Water Tower,
And then he chewed on Pittsburgh but he found it rather sour.
He ate New York and Tennessee, and all of Boston town,
Then drank the Mississippi River just to wash it down.
And when he’d eaten every state,
each puppy, boy and girl
He wiped his mouth upon his sleeve and went to eat the world.
He ate the Egypt pyramids and every church in Rome.
And all the grass in Africa and all the ice in Nome.
He ate each hill in green Brazil and then to make things worse
He decided for dessert he’d eat the universe.
He started with the moon and stars and soon as he was done
He gulped the clouds, he sipped the wind and gobbled up the sun.
Then sitting there in the cold dark air, He started to nibble his feet,
Then his legs, then his hips, then his neck, then his lips, till he sat there just
gnashin’ his teeth
‘Cause nothin’ was nothin’ was Nothin’ was nothin’ was Nothin’ was left to eat.
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