Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein Poems

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
and before the street begins,
and there the grass grows soft and white,

Once there was a tree....
and she loved a little boy.
And everyday the boy would come
and he would gather her leaves

There's a light on in the attic.
Thought the house is dark and shuttered,
I can see a flickerin' flutter,

Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
and he didn't leave much to Ma and me,
just this old guitar and a bottle of booze.


My dad gave me one dollar bill
'Cause I'm his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
'Cause two is more than one!

They're buildin' the gallows outside my cell.
I got 25 minutes to go.

And in 25 minutes I'll be in Hell.
I got 24 minutes to go.

If we meet and I say, 'Hi,'
That's a salutation.
If you ask me how I feel,
That's a consideration.

Lay down
Let's explore this tenderness between us
There ain't no one around at all to see us
And baby would you mind

I broke into the bank on Sunday,
You should see the money I got.
I couldn't drag it home 'til Monday,
'Cause it sure weighed an awful lot.


My skin is kind of sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are greyish blueish green,
But I'm told they look orange in the night.

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.

Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We're all the same size
When we turn off the light

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

I'll tell you the story of Jimmy Jet--
And you know what I tell you is true.
He loved to watch his TV set
Almost as much as you.

Now a friend of mine, way back in Chicago
You know, he finally made his pile.
Well he got himself a mansion on Butler and Sheff

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out!
She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans,
Candy the yams and spice the hams, ...

Oh the Crocodile
Went to the dentist
And sat down in the chair,
And the dentist said, 'Now tell me, sir,

Eight balloons no one was buyin'
All broke loose one afternoon.
Eight balloons with strings a-flyin',
Free to do what they wanted to.

If we were a rock 'n' roll band,
We'd travel all over the land.
We'd play and we'd sing and wear spangly things.

Shel Silverstein Biography

Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) was an American author, poet, cartoonist, and songwriter who is best known for his children's books, including The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and A Light in the Attic. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and began drawing cartoons and writing poetry as a child. After serving in the military during the Korean War, Silverstein began his career as a cartoonist, publishing his work in magazines like Playboy and Sports Illustrated. He also began writing songs, and his compositions were recorded by many popular musicians, including Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show. Silverstein's first children's book, Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book, was published in 1961, and he went on to write and illustrate many more books for children, as well as books for adults, including The Missing Piece and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O. Silverstein's work is characterized by its playful, irreverent tone, its emphasis on the joys and challenges of childhood, and its memorable characters and illustrations. His books have sold millions of copies and have been translated into numerous languages. Silverstein died of a heart attack in 1999 at the age of 68. Despite his relatively short life, his influence on children's literature and popular culture has been significant, and his work continues to be beloved by readers of all ages.

Life of Shel Silverstein

Silverstein "has rejected interviews and promotional tours for some years now... and he even urged his publisher not to give out any biographical information about him," according to Edwin McDowell of the New York Times Book Review (8 Nov 1981). Silverstein was born in Chicago (Illinois) in 1932, is divorced, and has one daughter, according to what is known about him. Apart from what may be gleaned through his writings, the most of what is known about his ideas and thoughts comes from an interview with Jean F. Mercier in Publisher's Weekly on February 24, 1975. With Mercier, Silverstein described the origins of his profession as a child: "When I was a kid - 12, 14, around there - I would much rather have been a good baseball player or a hit with the girls. But I couldn't play ball, I couldn't dance... So, I started to draw and to write. I was... lucky that I didn't have anyone to copy, be impressed by. I had developed my own style, I was creating before I knew there was a Thurber, a Benchley, a Price and a Steinberg. I never saw their work till I was around 30." By the time he served in the US armed forces in the 1950s, Silverstein's talents were well-developed. He was a cartoonist for the Pacific edition of the military journal Stars And Stripes while in the service, also he was stationed in Japan and Korea. In 1956, after serving in the military, Silverstein began working as a cartoonist for Playboy. Uncle Shelby's Story of Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back, published in 1963, was Silverstein's first foray into writing for children. He confided to Mercier: "I never planned to write or draw for kids. It was Tomi Ungerer, a friend of mine, who insisted... practically dragged me, kicking and screaming, into [editor] Ursula Nordstrom's office. And she convinced me that Tomi was right, I could do children's books." After the publication of The Giving Tree, however, Silverstein rose to prominence as a children's author. Editor William Cole had rejected the book, believing that it fell between adult and children's literature and would never sell. It was a story about two people, according to Silverstein: one gives and the other takes. The Giving Tree, a narrative about a tree that donates its shade, fruit, branches, and finally its trunk to make a tiny child happy. This book had slow sales at first, but its audience steadily grew. “Many readers saw a religious symbolism in the altruistic tree; ministers preached sermons on The Giving Tree; it was discussed in Sunday schools.” said Richard R. Lingeman in the New York Times Book Review. Ultimately, both adults and children embraced the book. But, as Barbara A. Schram noted in Interracial Books for Children (Vol. 5, No. 5, 1974), feminist critics later saw something else in Silverstein's story: "By choosing the female pronoun for the all-giving tree and the male pronoun for the all-taking boy, it is clear that the author did indeed have a prototypical master / slave relationship in mind... How frightening that little boys and girls who read The Giving Tree will encounter this glorification of female selflessness and male selfishness." Despite this, the book continues to be popular among both children and adults.

Songs written by Shel Silverstein

In the late 1960s Silverstein became also known for being a composer and lyricist of songs, including "A Boy Named Sue" (sung by Johnny Cash, 1969), "One's On The Way", "The Unicorn" (sung by the Irish Rovers), "Boa Constrictor", "So Good To So Bad", "Sylvia's Mother" (sung by Dr. Hook, 1972), "The Great Conch Train Robbery", and "Yes, Mr. Rogers". Albums of original motion picture scores include Ned Kelly. 25 Minutes To Go - Johnny Cash A Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash Daddy What If - Bobby Bare Hey Loretta - Loretta Lynn I Got Stoned And I Missed It - Shel Silverstein Marie Laveau - Bobby Bare My Heart Was The Last One To Know - Kris Kristofferson One's On The Way - Loretta Lynn Roland the Roadie and Gertrude the Groupie - Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show Sylvia's Mother - Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan - Marianne Faithfull The Cover of "Rolling Stone" - Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show The Mermaid - Shel Silverstein The Unicorn - The Irish Rovers In addition to his books that are popular with adult and child readers; Silverstein's poetry collection, A Light In The Attic, continues to sell many copies. Silverstein illustrates his own books with black-and-white line drawings. Being himself a book collector, he takes the feel and look-the paper, the type, the binding-of his titles very seriously. He does not allow his books to be published in paperback. But this has n't hurt his popularity: Silverstein has millions of copies in print. Silverstein has focused on writing plays for adults since 1981. The Lady or the Tiger Show (1981), about a television producer who goes to extraordinary lengths, has been presented. Silverstein also worked with writer David Mamet on the screenplay Things Change (1988).

Shel Silverstein Cause of Death

Shel Silverstein died of a heart attack on May 10, 1999 at his home in Key West, Florida. Silverstein died at age 68. He was buried at Westlawn Cemetery in Norridge, Illinois.)

The Best Poem Of Shel Silverstein

Where The Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
and before the street begins,
and there the grass grows soft and white,
and there the sun burns crimson bright,
and there the moon-bird rests from his flight
to cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
and the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
we shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow
and watch where the chalk-white arrows go
to the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
and we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
for the children, they mark, and the children, they know,
the place where the sidewalk ends.

Shel Silverstein Comments

Rimjhim Singh 02 September 2011

shel silverstein= <3 his poems coloured my childhood.

440 194 Reply
Jessica Gaudette 17 December 2011

I agree. My brother, dad and I used to buy his books for my moms birthday, which is the day after Christmas, and she has memorized so many of his poems! I recently found one we hadn't seen before, and it's waiting all wrapped up for her birthday!

437 193 Reply
Artemis Gutierrez 10 September 2012

I love you his poems! He's Awesome! I read almost all of his poem books. I'm his #1 fan.

409 173 Reply
Goldheart Bird 21 August 2013

I love his poems! I never read his books before though I might check some out at the libarie!

301 173 Reply
Eric Smith 09 May 2023

Does anyone know when The Perfect Wave was first published?

5 0 Reply
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Michelle 11 May 2022

i love these poems

11 5 Reply
prince 23 May 2022

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