13 Most Popular Poems by Shel Silverstein

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  • The Little Boy And The Old Man

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    in Famous Family Poems

    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.

    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.

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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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  • Sick

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    in Famous Children Poems

    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.

    “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.

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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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  • Hug O' War

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    in Famous Friendship Poems

    Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) wove lessons into his poems for children. In Hug O' War, he shares the importance of showing kindness to others instead of trying to overpower them.

    I will not play at tug o' war.
    I'd rather play at hug o' war,
    Where everyone hugs
    Instead of tugs,

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    • Rating 4.37
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    Thanks for the simple but profound poem. I am a bus driver and I strive to be the open heart and guide for my children who ride with me. It is not always easy to hear what they have to say or...

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  • Snowball

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    in Famous Children Poems

    Shel Silverstein's (1930-1999) comedic genius is demonstrated in this short, funny poem that is sure to bring a smile to children of all ages and adults as well.

    Bonus pleasure points: If you're sharing this poem with a child be sure to catch the look on their face as they figure out why snowballs don't make good pets!

    I made myself a snowball
    As perfect as could be.
    I thought I'd keep it as a pet
    And let it sleep with me.

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    I love the humor, innocence and whimsy of this poem. But there's more here than meets the eye. If you look a bit deeper, you can see how we sometimes don't properly interpret our experiences,...

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  • Underface

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    in Famous Children Poems

    Children, teenagers, and adults as well, can all identify with the message of this poem for children from Shel Silverstein published in his book, "Every Thing On It." Sometimes we all feel like no one really truly knows us, as if we are wearing a mask and our true self is hidden from all underneath our face.

    Underneath my outside face
    There's a face that none can see.
    A little less smiley,
    A little less sure,

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    • Stories 4
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    • Votes 961
    • Rating 4.30
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    What a perfect poem! At times we could basically tell how people were feeling despite their facial expressions. It was in their eyes the tell- tale signs that led us to see at least the...

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  • Messy Room

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    in Famous Funny Poems

    Shel Silverstein had a broad creative skill set that led him to be a well-known poet and children's author during the mid to late 1900s. He drew cartoons for magazines and became a song composer before focusing a lot of attention on writing many humorous poems. In this poem, the narrator is appalled by the mess in a room, and he finds the room to be all too familiar.

    Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
    His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
    His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
    And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.

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  • Listen To The MUSTN'TS

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    in Famous Children Poems

    Although Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) wrote poetry for young children, adults can glean many lessons from his pieces. This poem is filled with lessons on dreaming and persevering. Don’t allow others to get you down, because in the end, anything is possible.

    Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
    Listen to the DON'TS
    Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
    The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT'S

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    • Stories 1
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    I love this poem because I have been writing love letters to my two teenagers and eight year old for fifteen years reminding them of what they shouldn't.

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  • Dirty Face

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    in Famous Children Poems

    Shel Silverstein, who died in 1999, was a singer, song writer, poet and author of many children's books. "Dirty Face" is a fun poem to read for both children and adults. Silverstein reminisces fondly about the carefree childhood existence.

    Where did you get such a dirty face,
    My darling dirty-faced child?
    I got it from crawling along in the dirt
    And biting two buttons off Jeremy's shirt.

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    • Stories 3
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    So cute!! Like the spaghetti, chocolate, ice-cream. It's the kids that get the dirtiest, that have the most fun. It's a lifetime of adventure and silliness that they will remember forever....

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  • Lester

    Famous Poem

    in Famous Children Poems

    Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) is one of the most well-known children’s poets. His poems are fun and humorous, but many of them also include a lesson. This poem teaches a lesson about greed. The subject of this poem is given a magic wish, and he continues to wish for more wishes. His selfishness continues throughout his life until he finds that he has not used any wishes. He misses out on everything in life because he’s so concerned about getting more and more.

    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.

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  • A Boy Named Sue

    Famous Poem

    in Famous Funny Poems

    "A Boy Named Sue" is a poem by Shel Silverstein that has been made popular by Johnny Cash. Cash was at the height of his popularity when he recorded the song live at California's San Quentin State Prison at a concert on February 24, 1969. The concert was filmed by Granada Television for later television broadcast. The audio of the concert was later released on Cash's At San Quentin album. Cash also performed the song (with comical variations on the original performance) in December 1969 at Madison Square Garden.

    Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
    and he didn't leave much to Ma and me,
    just this old guitar and a bottle of booze.
    Now I don't blame him because he run and hid,

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    • Stories 1
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    Johnny Cash was the right person to sing these lyrics. He made an interesting song from an awesome poem. Very entertaining. Love it!
    Jac. Judy A. Campbell

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