Posted by: Trisha Leigh | September 24, 2010

Deceptively Silly

Shel Silverstein is one of my writing heroes. He crafted sentences and strung them together in a wonderfully whimsical way. He buries honesty in his seemingly silly words. When the reader unearths it, they find that they own a piece of truth. About life. About themselves. About humanity.

This poem is so very dear to me. If you haven’t read it, be inspired. If you have, be reminded.

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts.

Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts.

Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me.

Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

Shel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends)



  1. I love this one, Trisha. It is always nice to re-read one of your favorites. Thank you.

    • You’re quite welcome. You know it’s good when it still gives you chills.

  2. LOVE Shel Silverstein.

    My brother got me WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS back when I was teaching high school, and had just permed my straight long hair into fashionable curls. Clever bloke that he is, he inscribed it:

    Teacher, teacher, I declare
    I’ve never seen such frizzled hair.
    Like a nest without a bird,
    Happy Birthday, your twenty-third.

    • You’re brother sounds awesome. I always wanted a brother. Can I have yours?

  3. I’ve never heard this poem and LOVE it. Thanks for sharing it, Trisha.

    • Oh, it makes me so happy that I could be the one to share it with you!

  4. YES!

    I still list A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends as two of my favorite books of all time. I plan on buying them for my nephews in another year or two when they’re old enough. It doesn’t get much better than Shel Silverstein.

    I recently discovered that he wrote “A Boy Named Sue” for Johnny Cash. Silverstein, Cash… no wonder it’s one of the greatest songs ever.

    • Wow, really?? I never knew that, how interesting. And awesome 🙂

  5. One of my very favorite poems 🙂


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