Friday, August 3, 2012

Shel Silverstein

  Invitation

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

Listen to the Mustn'ts

Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
Listen to the DON'TS
Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON'TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me--
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

Hector the Collector

Hector the Collector
Collected bits of string,
Collected dolls with broken heads
And rusty bells that would not ring.
Pieces out of picture puzzles,
Bent-up nails and ice cream sticks,
Twists of wires, worn-out tires,
Paper bags and broken bricks.
Old chipped vases, half shoelaces,
Gatlin' guns that wouldn't shoot,
Leaky boats that wouldn't float
And stopped-up horns that wouldn't toot.
Butter knives that had no handles,
Copper keys that fit no locks,
Rings that were too small for fingers,
Dried-up leaves and patched-up socks.
Worn-out belts that had no buckles,
'Lectric trains that had no tracks,
Airplane models, broken bottles,
Three-legged chairs and cups with cracks.
Hector the Collector
Loved these things with all his soul--
Loved them more than shining diamonds,
Loved them more than glistenin' gold.
Hector called to all the people,
"Come and share my treasure trunk!"
And all the silly sightless people
Came and looked...and called it junk.

The Garden

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 rubieson 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,
Emerald tomater,
Fresh plump coral melons
Hangin' in reach.
Ol' man Simon,
Diggin' in his diamonds,
Stops and rests and dreams about
One...real...peach.

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 were the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Lester

Lester was given a magic wish
By the goblin who lives in the banyan tree,
And with his wish he wished for two more wishes--
So now instead of just one wish, he cleverly had three.
And with each one of these
He simply wished for three more wishes
Which gave him three old wishes, plus nine new.
And with each of these twelve
He slyly wished for three more wishes,
Which added up to forty-six--or is it fifty-two?
Well anyway, he used each wish
To wish for wishes 'til he had
Five billion, seven million, eighteen thousand thirty-four.
And then he spread them on the ground
And clapped his hands and danced around
And skipped and sang, and then sat down
And wished for more.
And more...and more...they multiplied
While other people smiled and cried
And loved and reached and touched and felt.
Lester sat amid his wealth
Stacked mountain-high like stacks of gold,
Sat and counted--and grew old.
And then one Tuesday night they found him
Dead--with his wishes piled around him.
And they counted the lot and found that not
A single one was missing.
All shiny and new--here, take a few
And think of Lester as you do.
In a world of apples and kisses and shoes
He wasted his wishes on wishing.

No Difference

Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We're all the same size
When we turn off the light.
Rich as a sultan,
Poor as a mite,
We're all worth the same
When we turn off the light.
Red, black or orange,
Yellow or white,
We all look the same
When we turn off the light.
So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to reach out
And turn off the light!

The Edge of the World

Columbus said the world is round?
Don't you believe a word of that.
For I've been down to the edge of the world,
Sat on the edge where the wild wind whirled,
Peeked over the ledge where the blue smoke curls,
And I can tell you, boys and girls,
The world is FLAT!

Point of View

Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless
Christmas dinner's dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.
Sunday dinner isn't sunny
Easter feasts are just bad luck
When you see it from a viewpoint
Of a chicken or a duck.
Oh how I once loved tuna salad
Pork and lobsters, lamb chops too
Till I stopped and looked at dinner
From the dinner's point of view.

Ma & God

God gave us fingers--Ma says, "Use your fork."
God gave us voices--Ma says, "Don't scream."
Ma says eat broccoli, cereal and carrots.
But God gave us tasteys for maple ice cream.
God gave us fingers--Ma says, "Use your hanky."
God gave us puddles--Ma says, "Don't splash."
Ma says, "Be quiet, your father is sleeping."
But God gave us garbage can covers to crash.
God gave us fingers--Ma says, "Put your gloves on."
God gave us raindrops--Ma says, "Don't get wet."
Ma says be careful, and don't get too near to
Thoses strange lovely dogs that God gave us to pet.
God gave us fingers--Ma says, "Go wash 'em."
But God gave us coal bins and nice dirty bodies.
And I ain't too smart, but there's one thing for certain--
Either Ma's wrong or else God is.

Dreadful

Someone ate the baby,
It's rather sad to say.
Someone ate the baby
So she won't be out to play.
We'll never hear her whiney cry
Or have to feel if she is dry.
We'll never hear her asking "Why?"
Someone ate the baby.
Someone ate the baby.
It's absolutely clear
Someone ate the baby
'Cause the baby isn't here.
We'll give away her toys and clothes.
We'll never have to wipe her nose.
Dad says, "That's the way it goes."
Someone ate the baby.
Someone ate the baby.
What a frightful thing to eat!
Someone ate the baby
Though she wasn't very sweet.
It was a heartless thing to do.
The policemen haven't got a clue.
I simply can't imagine who
Would go and (burp) eat the baby.

The Land of Happy

Have you been to The Land of Happy,
Where everyone's happy all day,
Where they joke and they sing
Of the happiest things,
And everything's jolly and gay?
There's no one unhappy in Happy,
There's laughter and smiles galore.
I have been to The Land of Happy--
What a bore!

If the World was Crazy

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 would always 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

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?

The One Who Stayed

You should have heard the old men cry,
You should have heard the biddies
When that sad stranger raised his flute
And piped away the kiddies.
Katy, Tommy, Meg and Bob
Followed, skipping gaily,
Red-haired Ruth, my brother Rob,
And little crippled Bailey,
John and Nils and Cousin Claire,
Dancin', spinnin',turnin'
'Cross the hills to God knows where--
They never came returnin'.
'Cross the hills to God knows where
The piper pranced, a leadin'
Each child in Hamlin Town but me,
And I stayed home unheedin'.
My papa says that I was blest
For if that music found me,
I'd be witch-cast like all the rest.
This town grows old around me.
I cannot say I did not hear
That sound so haunting hollow--
I heard, I heard, I heard it clear...
I was afraid to follow.

The Search

I went to find the pot of gold
That's waiting where the rainbow ends.
I searched and searched and searched and searched
And searched and searched, and then--
There it was, deep in the grass,
Under an old and twisty bough.
It's mine, it's mine, it's mine at last...
What do I search for now?

Signals

When the light is green you go.
When the light is red you stop.
But what do you do
When the light turns blue
With orange and lavender spots?

Put Something In

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.

Wavy Hair

I thought that I had wavy hair
Until I shaved. Instead,
I find that I have STRAIGHT hair
And a very wavy head.

Hurk

I'd rather play tennis than go to the dentist.
I'd rather play soccer than go to the doctor.
I'd rather play Hurk than go to work.
Hurk? Hurk? What's Hurk?
I don't know, but it MUST be better than work.

Ations

If we meet and I say, "Hi,"
That's a salutation.
If you ask me how I feel,
That's consideration.
If we stop and talk awhile,
That's a converstation.
If we understand each other,
That's communication.
If we argue, scream and fight,
That's an altercation.
If later we apologize,
That's reconciliation.
If we help each other home,
That's cooperation.
And all these ations added up
Make civilization.
(And if I say this is a wonderful poem,
Is that exaggeration?)

Peckin'

The saddest thing I ever did see
Was a woodpecker peckin' at a plastic tree.
He looks at me, and "Friend," says he,
"Things ain't as sweet as they used to be."

Rockabye

Rockabye baby, in the treetop,
Don't you know a treetop
Is no safe place to rock?
And who put you up there,
And your cradle too?
Baby, I think someone down here's
Got it in for you.

Hula Eel

Take an eel,
Make a loop,
Use him as a hula hoop.
Feel him twist and twirl and spin,
Down your ankles, round your chin,
Tigher, tighter, tighter yet,
Ain't an eel a lovely pet?
Hey-answer when I talk to you-
Don't just stand there turning blue.

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