I just finished Silverstein’s 1981 collection of poems, A Light In The Attic about thirty minutes ago and I am convinced that I loved this one a tad bit more than Where The Sidewalk Ends (which was released 7 years prior to ALITA, in 1974).
The main reason being was that this one included poems that I felt could be more relatable for adults. My case in point:
“One day he said, “I’ll tell this town
How it feels to be an unfunny clown.”
And he told them all why he looked so sad,
And he told them all why he felt so bad.
He told of Pain and Rain and Cold,
He told of Darkness in his soul,
And after he finished his tale of woe,
Did everyone cry? Oh no, no, no,
They laughed until they shook the trees…
And while the world laughed outside.
Cloony the Clown sat down and cried.”
~ Cloony The Clown
First off, this is horribly depressing. Secondly, I think all of us have experienced a few moments when we were honest about how we were feeling and then might have been shut down or not taken as seriously. This one broke my heart a little.
This one also stuck out to me:
I’ve never roped a Brahma bull,
I’ve never fought a duel,
I’ve never crossed the desert
On a lop-eared, swayback mule,
I’ve never climbed an idol’s nose
To steal a cursèd jewel.
I’ve never gone down with my ship
Into the bubblin’ brine,
I’ve never saved a lion’s life
And then had him save mine,
Or screamed Ahoooo while swingin’ through
The jungle on a vine.
I’ve never dealt draw poker
In a rowdy lumber camp,
Or got up at the count of nine
To beat the world’s champ,
I’ve never had my picture on
A six-cent postage stamp.
I’ve never scored a touchdown
On a ninety-nine-yard run,
I’ve never winged six Daltons
With my dying brother’s gun…
Or kissed Miz Jane, and rode my hoss
Into the setting sun.
Sometimes I get so depressed
‘Bout what I haven’t done.
It’s always so easy to think and dwell on all the things we wish we should’ve, could’ve, or would’ve done, though the truth is, what’s done is done and all we can do is continue to do is try to live life the best way we know how.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of hopeful, inspirational, and giggle-worthy poems in ALITA and it is well-worth reading. It’s only 176 pages and there are only a few longer poems (that take up a full page or two) within the book.
I read this in two sittings as it is such an easy, and entertaining collection of poems and drawings (I’ll admit, some of Silverstein’s drawings creep me out a bit, though in a good way) that would be perfect to grab if you got an hour and a half or so to kill. I haven’t read his other popular works such as The Giving Tree or Falling Up, but you better bet that they’ll be making their way into my hands very soon.
Similar Poetry Works:
- The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
- Something Big Has Been Here by Jack Prelutsky
- Sing a Song of Popcorn: Every Child’s Book Of Poems by Mary Michaels White
- It’s a Busy, Busy World by Richard Scarry
- The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
YouTube Channel: Shel Silverstein – Topic
Featured image via GooGoo Gallery