Poetic Spotlight: Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein, or “Uncle Shel” to any of the legions of children that grew up on his literary works, was another case of something I seem to produce rather often here: a writer of many outlets, and many talents. A poet, songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and, yes, a children’s book author, Shel was an artist that crafted to the tune of many songs, and captured the hearts of millions in his time.

He is, also, one of the more modern poets I’ve chosen to highlight here thus far, his life having ended as the turn of the century loomed.

Today I offer up a work of his that came to be dubbed a children’s classic in its own time. Published in 1974, “Where the Sidewalk Ends” is a real beauty, a good introductory piece for children, but with a lot of messages for adults, a verbal journey between the two worlds…

“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