Famous Family Poem

Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) is a poet known for his wonderful and funny poems for children. But, many of his poems contain nuggets of wisdom for adults as well. In this poignant poem, the poet illustrates the indignities of growing old. The "little old man" has reverted back to a "little boy" and his own children now treat him as a little boy.

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I admit I didn't know Shel Silverstein until I bought a couple of sheets of stamps with his name on each stamp and a silly little sketch of a cartoonish little girl. "Who is Shel...

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Famous Poem

The Little Boy And The Old Man

Shel Silverstein By more Shel Silverstein

Said the little boy, sometimes I drop my spoon.
Said the little old man, I do that too.
The little boy whispered, I wet my pants.
I do too, laughed the old man.
Said the little boy, I often cry.
The old man nodded. So do I.
But worst of all, said the boy,
it seems grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
I know what you mean, said the little old man.


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Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • Bill Blando by Bill Blando
  • 2 years ago

I admit I didn't know Shel Silverstein until I bought a couple of sheets of stamps with his name on each stamp and a silly little sketch of a cartoonish little girl. "Who is Shel Silverstein?" I asked the postal clerk, whose knowledge was about double mine, amounting to zero added together. So I Googled, and discovered a most interesting, talented artist of many modes. Mr. Silverstein, I apologize! My education is wanting -- especially since you're from Chicago, the city that boasts one of my all-time heroes, Studs Terkel, not to mention the Second City acting troupe (which I just did -- mention it), and, of course, Mike Royko. Shel fits very nicely into that group. A second point: the cliche, you're never too old to learn. Like the old man in the poem, I am old, and I know what the old man and the little boy are talking about, having experienced the feeling of being invisible -- at both ends of my age spectrum. Though old, today I learned about Shel. Thanks, Post Office!

  • Kumari Weerasooriya by Kumari Weerasooriya
  • 4 years ago

This poem reminds me of "Seven Ages of Man" by Shakespeare, which tells how man physically rises and falls in life. It also reflects the mutual bond between grandparents and grandchildren.

  • Deborah M. Figueira by Deborah M. Figueira, Toronto
  • 4 years ago

I can relate to the poem "The Little Boy and The Old Man" by Shel Silverstein. You feel invisible, not as valuable. No longer as pretty, not of much use. Your income has dwindled, you're no longer an asset. Parents have long left and your friends are few. Siblings are aging with not much more to do. We all reach a point with not much more to gain. Gone are the moments of glory and fame.

I'll be 100 next year and I know what it is like to have to give up many things, although I am fortunate in that I am still producing poetry and crossword puzzles. I thank God every day for allowing me these activities that make life more interesting. Each one must do the best they can with what they have. Being cheerful tops the list. -Alora Knight

Really love this Shel Silverstein poem...
The bond between the generation gap
Warms the heart and makes one feel so glad
If only everyone could be like that
To them for certain I would raise my hat.

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