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Discovering poetry: Shel Silverstein

StumbleUpon kindly threw up this freeform poem of Shel Silverstein. I haven’t read him before. I particularly like What If as a poem for the incorrigibly anxious, and God’s Wheel, for the incorrigibly stable!

For the anxious and catastrophizing

What if

by Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some What ifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old What if song:
What if I’m dumb in school?
What if they’ve closed the swimming pool?
What if I get beat up?
What if there’s poison in my cup?
What if I start to cry?
What if I get sick and die?
What if I flunk that test?
What if green hair grows on my chest?
What if nobody likes me?
What if a bolt of lightning strikes me?
What if I don’t grow tall?
What if my head starts getting smaller?
What if the fish won’t bite?
What if the wind tears up my kite?
What if they start a war?
What if my parents get divorced?
What if the bus is late?
What if my teeth don’t grow in straight?
What if I tear my pants?
What if I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the night time What ifs strike again!

For the incorrigibly complacent

God’s Wheel

by Shel Silverstein

GOD says to me with a kind
of smile, “Hey how would you like
to be God awhile

And steer the world?”
“Okay,” says I, “I’ll give it a try.Where do I set?
How much do I get?
What time is lunch?
When can I quit?””Gimme back that wheel,” says GOD.
“I don’t think you’re quite ready YET.”

 

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