I was SO EXCITED to get a chance to read some of his poems for the first time again, something I haven't been able to do since like 5th or 6th grade. I remember when he died. It was near the end of the 7th grade school year and my English teacher, Mrs. Restivo, wrote it on the announcements chalk board. Yes, chalk board. You kids these days with your whiteboards and smart boards. Totally missing out.
Anyhow, I went out right away and got it, and sat down and read it in its entirety and it was a delight.
One of my favorite things about Shel Silverstein has always been his ability to pack big, important, and profound meanings in just a few short lines.
When I was young, I loved his silly stories and poems. I learned a lot about clever uses of words from reading Shel Silverstein’s work. It wasn’t until I grew up a bit (or a lot in some ways) and went back and reread his poetry that I discovered what other, much bigger lessons he was teaching me. Part of me wonders now if he intended to make the metaphors I find in many of his poems now, or if it’s my life experience that creates the perspective that creates the metaphors. From what I’ve learned about Mr. Silverstein, he was always very purposeful and intentional in his work. I believe that he knew he was imparting wisdom that might not be realized until later on in his young readers’ lives, and that it was his goal. Much like The Giving Tree teaches about friendship in a simple poignant way, the poems in Everything On It tackle big issues like hiding your true self, growing old, and loss directly but gently. It is not without the silly, nonsense poetry and drawings that Silverstein is known for either. Much like every book he's published, you will likely tear up and giggle within a page of one another.
The trend of silliness with wisdom sprinkled in continues in this latest publication, and if you were ever a fan, you still will be. I'm the proud owner of all of his children's poetry books.
*Nobody paid me to write about this. Seriously. There are like 1.7 people who read this blog. I'm not attracting any sponsorships. I just really love Shel Silverstein.