11 Poems by Shel Silverstein

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In remembrance of the famous American author, illustrator, poet and song writer, Shel Silverstein – we compiled 11 of his great, many poems and decided to share them with our wonderful VerMints’ fans on his birthday.

Shel Silverstein was born on September 25, 1930 and passed away on May 10th 1999 due to a massive heart attack. He grew up around the Chicago, IL area and started drawing at the age of 7. He was first published in the Roosevelt Torch and his first book was, Take Ten, which was a cartoon series published by Pacific Stars and Stripes in 1955. Since that time he started writing children’s poetry and wrote many popular books, such as, The Giving Tree, A Giraffe and a Half, Uncle Shelby's Story of Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back, and other treasurable works.

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A spider lives inside my head

Who weaves a strange and wondrous web

Of silken threads and silver strings

To catch all sorts of flying things,

Like crumbs of thoughts and bits of smiles

And specks of dried-up tears

And dust of dreams that catch and cling

For years and years and years…

-Shel Silverstein


Talked my head off

Worked my tail off

Cried my eyes out

Walked my feet off

Sang my heart out

So you see,

There’s really not much left of me

-Shel silverstein


Some people manicure their nails,

Some people trim them neatly,

Some people keep them filed down,

I bite ‘em off completely.

Before you start to scold,

Remember, I have never ever

Scratched a single soul.

-Shel silverstein


Said the pelican to the elephant,

“I think we should marry, I do.

‘cause there’s no name that rhymes with me,

And no one else rhymes with you.”

Said the elephant to the pelican,

“There’s sense to what you’ve said,

For rhyming’s as good a reason as any

For any two to wed.”

And so the elephant wed the pelican,

And they dined upon lemons and limes,

And now they have a baby pelicant,

And everybody rhymes

-Shel Silverstein


Each time I see the Upside-Down Man

Standing in the water,

I look at him and start to laugh,

Although I shouldn’t oughtter.

For maybe in another world

Another time

Another town

Maybe HE is right side up

And I am upside down

-Shel Silverstein


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.

I made it some pajamas

And a pillow for its head.

Then last night it ran away,

But first – it wet the bed.

-Shel Silverstein


One sister for sale!

One sister for sale!

One crying and spying young sister for sale!

I’m really not kidding,

So who’ll start the bidding?

Do I hear a dollar?

A nickel?

A penny?

Oh, isn’t there, isn’t there, isn’t there any

One kid who will buy this old sister for sale,

This crying and spying young sister for sale?

-Shel Silverstein


All the woulda-coulda-shouldas

Layin’ in the sun,

Talkin’ ‘bout all the things

They woulda-coulda-shoulda done..

But those woulda-coulda-shouldas

All ran away and hid

From one little did.

-Shel Silverstein


Please don’t tell me I should hug,

Don’t tell me I should care

Don’t tell me just how grand I’d feel

If I just learned to share.

Don’t say, “it’s all right to cry,”

“Be kind,” “be fair,” “be true.”

Just let me see YOU do it,

Then I just might do it too.

-Shel Silverstein


Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird

And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.

If you’re a bird, be an early early bird

But if you’re a worm, sleep late.

-Shel Silverstein


There are no happy endings.

Endings are the saddest part

So just give me a happy middle

And a very happy start

-Shel Silverstein

Happy Birthday, Shel Silverstein!