Shel Silverstein, Where Have You Gone?

When I was in elementary school, there was a newsletter that came out called ‘The Headliner’ where children could submit poems. For me it was never a question of whether to submit, but rather what to submit.

Then a writer came along who validated everything I thought I knew about writing. He told me to create something no matter how crazy, he told me there could be magic in a puzzle piece lying on the sidewalk.

images-5If you Google Shel Silverstein’s ‘The Giving Tree’, you will find that countless people have tried to analyze it. There are religious connotations, environmental interpretations, and even some sickos who see the boy and the tree as having a sadomasochistic relationship. I think Shel Silverstein was just trying to show us love.

But, looking back on that book, after all these years, I think Shel Silverstein is The Giving Tree. His words, the fruits and branches that we delighted in as children, his books something we could give to our children when we get older, and the companionship of his literature, something we can take with us into old age.

Whenever my children choose this book as the one they want read to them, I’m always a little apprehensive. They look at each other in embarrassment and wonder why silly old mommy’s voice starts to catch in her throat, why tears are coming from her eyes.

Shel Silverstein has done so much for me, so much for the world, I feel like the least I can do is pay it forward, if only in a very, very small way.

Shel Silverstein, where have you gone?
Gone where the sidewalk ends?
Or in the sky polishing stars
With three headed Ann and her friends?

Shel Silverstein where are you now?
You were taken away too soon
Bored in the Land of Happy?
Or trying to catch the moon?

Your words like branches to play in,
I read them again and again,
And now that I have children of my own,
I’ll give the books to them.

And maybe when I’m old and gray,
And your books are torn with wear,
I’ll sit on an old tree stump and read them,
And pretend that you are there.

Cause there’s something whistling on the wind,
That let’s me know without a doubt,
That when I see that light in the attic shine,
You’re on the inside looking out.


14 thoughts on “Shel Silverstein, Where Have You Gone?

  1. Love it. I know what you mean about Shel Silverstein–he’s special. I have so many of his poems memorized and they’re so fun and clever and awesome. And the Giving Tree. I have to find a copy now and re-read it.

  2. Pingback: Letters from the Silence – 28th March, 2014 | Wired With Words

  3. Pingback: writing off the wall | litadoolan

  4. What is love? My Dad used to ask me that when I was a teenager and beginning to date. True love he said was ” a willingness to sacrifice for another.” I think he didn’t want me to narrowly interpret love as pleasure alone. Perhaps this is what Silverstein was getting at with The Giving Tree…. I loved everything by Shel Silverstein and this book was a always a favorite but reading it now- I do sometimes feel uncomfortable. I guess the former English Major in me sometimes can’t help but to dissect it. I just can’t turn my feminist interpretation off. I see a woman giving and giving and giving and being stripped totally bare- while he leaves and leaves and does whatever he wants. I know. I know- probably you are right and I am wrong. Suffice it to say I do feel conflicted about this particular work. I still LOVE Shel Silverstein and I think your tribute to him is amazing!

      • Oh No!!! Don’t let me kill this book for you!!! For some reason this quote from an essay by D.H. Lawernce came to mind “It is easy to see why each man kills the thing he loves. To know a living thing is to kill it. You have to kill a thing to know it satisfactorily. For this reason, the desirous consciousness, the SPIRIT, is a vampire. ”

        I’ve been thinking about this book since I read your post. It is actually a very honest book. It is sad book. But it reflects relationships that happen around us all the time. In a way it is a children book for adults. The drawing and the words together- it so perfectly captures a real phenomenon in so many relationships.

  5. Pingback: Strange Tales of Living Windows, Goggle Soup and… Criminal Penguins? | Ramisa the Authoress

The Blood Trail Starts Here...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s