Famous Children Poem

When children don’t want to do something, they come up with every excuse they can think of to get out of it. There are many kinds of sicknesses children try to convince their parents they have been afflicted with in order to get out of going to school. The character in this poem seems to have come down with every possible illness, but what happens when she realizes it’s not a school day? Shel Silverstein crafts a poem that will resonate with children and adults alike.

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I routinely skipped school for some reasons that even I couldn't understand at the time. In a thorough medical checkup after 10th grade, my parents realized that I couldn't see well. I...

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Famous Poem


Shel Silverstein By more Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more--that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”


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Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • Ell by Ell
  • 1 month ago

Yess!!! Awesome poem, funny ending but I feel kids should have at least one day off every 3 weeks ;P

  • Zakir Hussain by Zakir Hussain
  • 1 year ago

I routinely skipped school for some reasons that even I couldn't understand at the time. In a thorough medical checkup after 10th grade, my parents realized that I couldn't see well. I thought people saw things like that. With the heavy eyeglasses, my world changed suddenly. It was so nice around me. I started to love everything. I was introverted, and I became outgoing. I liked to be inside my room, but then I was outside the house whenever I could get a chance. I am a teacher in a higher secondary school right now. I'm frequently advising parents to please be aware their children's possible weaknesses that could possibly be an obstacle in their study lives.

  • Chloe by Chloe
  • 2 years ago

Very silly indeed! RIP Mr. Sheldon A. Silverstein, king of silly poems!

  • Eric Huang by Eric Huang
  • 2 years ago

It makes me think of someone I know named Danni. She has used excuses about sicknesses by using her mother or father's handwriting to say that she is sick and has even helped other people get out of school.

  • Iman El-Saie by Iman El-Saie
  • 3 years ago

If I told my mother I was sick if I wasn't then she would put like 100 wooly layers on me and tell me to sleep and rest in bed the whole day, no TV or games. Then if I did that, I would still have to catch up on school work. So I would rather go to school!

  • Gracie by Gracie
  • 2 years ago

My mom would take my temp and say, "Are you really sick?" I said yes because I was tired of going because waking up at 6:00 am is not fun, so I'd rather be at home. I look up to this poem because now I make up spoken word poems.

  • Will by Will
  • 3 years ago

I liked this poem. It made me laugh and definitely gave me some ideas. I've chosen this poem for a school project. My teacher's going to LOVE it.

  • Robbie Fry by Robbie Fry
  • 3 years ago

A singer friend told an audience that when she and her brother tried to ditch school, their mother would ask them to say 'plum jam'. If they really had a cold, they would have given a nasal response. Invariably, they ended up being whisked to school. As for myself, I attempted to eat mud in the vain hope of, likewise, skipping school.

  • Bozz by Bozz
  • 4 years ago

My 13-year-old daughter tried to pull it off. She said that her leg was broken, but then I told her we were going to have to take her to the doctor that way they could cut off her leg. She said, "Mom, I think my leg is fine. We can go to school now." She never did anything like that again.

  • Delia Marheineke by Delia Marheineke, London, England
  • 5 years ago

This poem is great. I really loved school when I was a child, but there were times when I was being bullied that I didn't want to go. Also I remember how miserable I felt at school when I really was sick and my mother had to come and fetch me home. This poem, however, has made me laugh, and I particularly like the punch line at the end. Thank you, Shel Silverstein.

  • CAROLE Joan Savage Moore by CAROLE Joan Savage Moore
  • 5 years ago

After feeling a bit low and sorry for myself, this poem had me falling about laughing - what a tonic, much better than a visit to the doctor.

  • Maisee Reynolds by Maisee Reynolds
  • 5 years ago

This poem is THE BEST! It's my all-time favorite poem, not only by Shel Silverstein, but above all the poems I've read! Shel Silverstein is the funniest, and this poem is hilarious! I totally admire Shel Silverstein, and he is my role model as far as poets go. I love this poem!

  • Inkdemongirl by Inkdemongirl
  • 6 years ago

I loved this poem. It also helps the parents to figure out if their child is really sick or pretending. Poor children.

  • Anna Smiths by Anna Smiths
  • 6 years ago

I like this. This poet is a genius. It could be a song or recited, which is not common much in poems. It is funny and sooooo relatable!

  • Nils by Nils
  • 6 years ago

I love the poem "Sick." I had to memorize it for my audition for my school plays!

  • Tank Wang by Tank Wang
  • 6 years ago

This is just like me! I do not want to go to school, and I pretend I am sick. When my mom tells me it is Saturday, I go out and play.

  • Yanti by Yanti
  • 7 years ago

Hi, I just want to share this lovely poetry with my students. Thanks.

That is a cute poem! Sounds just like the silliness children try to pull. My children would try, then they would remember if they were sick they had to stay in bed all day, no television, no phone, drinking lots of water.

  • Sarah Conberg by Sarah Conberg
  • 6 years ago

I have a first grader, but she has never tried to pull this off.

  • Jo A. Sparkes by Jo A. Sparkes
  • 7 years ago

Highly amusing and has a good rhythm as well. Just like a child, actually!

  • Daniella Maddi by Daniella Maddi
  • 7 years ago

My children always say this sort of stuff! Then I correct them by saying it's Saturday.

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