Shel Silverstein

Where the sidewalk ends


I Must Remember

I must remember…

Turkey on Thanksgiving,

Pudding on Christmas,

Eggs on Easter,

Chicken on Sunday,

Fish on Friday,

Leftovers, Monday.

But ah, me – I am such a dunce.

I went and ate then all at once.

Early Bird

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 bird—

But if you’re a worm, sleep late.

I’m making a list

I’m making a list of the things I must say for politeness,

And goodness and kindness and gentleness, sweetness and rightness:


Pardon me

How are you

Excuse me

Bless you

May I?

Thank you


If you know some that I forgot,

Please stick them into your eye!


  I opened my eyes

  And looked up at the rain,

  And it dripped in my head

  And flowed into my brain,

And that I hear as I lie in my bed

Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.


  I sleep very softly,

  I walk very slow,

  I can’t do a handstand,

  I might overflow,

So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said—

I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

True Story

This morning I jumped on my horse,

And went out for a ride,

And some wild outlaws chased me

And they shot me in the side.

So I crawled into a wildcat’s cave

To find a place to hide,

But some pirates found me sleeping there,

And soon they had me tied

To a pole and built a fire

Under me—I almost cried

Till a mermaid came and cut me loose

And begged to be my bride,

So I said I’d come back Wednesday

But I must admit I lied.

Then I ran into a jungle swamp

But I forgot my guide

And I stepped into some quicksand,

And no matter how I tried

I couldn’t get out, until I met

A water snake named Clyde,

Who pulled me to some cannibals

Who planned to have me fried.

But an eagle came and swooped me up

And through the air we flied,

But he dropped me in a boiling lake

A thousand miles wide.

And you’ll never guess what I did then—


Boa Constrictor

Oh, I’m being eaten

By a boa constrictor,

A boa constrictor,

A boa constrictor,

I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor,

And I don’t like it—one bit.

Well, what do you know?

It’s nibblin’ my toe.

Oh, gee,

It’s up to my knee.

Oh my,

It’s up to my thigh.

Oh, fiddle,

It’s up to the middle.

Oh, heck,

It’s up to my neck.

Oh, dread,

It’s upmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff…

For Sale

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 the dollar?

A nickel?

A penny?

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

One kid that will buy this old sister for sale,

This crying and spying young sister for sale?

Sleeping Sardines

“I’m tired of eating just beans,” says I,

So I opened a can of sardines.

But they started to squeak,

“Hey, we are tryin’ to sleep.

We were snuggled up tight

Till you let in the light.

You big silly sap, let us finish our nap.

Now close up the lid!”

So that’s what I did…

Will somebody please pass the beans?


“I cannot go to school today,”

Said little Peggy Ann McKay.

I have the measles and the mumps,

A gash, a rash and purple bumps.

My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,

I’m going blind in my right eye.

My tonsils are as big as rocks,

I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox.

And there’s one more—that’s seventeen,

And don’t you think my face looks green?

My leg is cut, my eyes are blue—

It might be instamatic flue.

I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,

I’m sure that my left leg is broken—

My hips hurt when I move my chin,

My belly button’s caving in,

My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,

My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.

My nose is cold, my toes are numb,

I have a silver in my thumb.

My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,

I hardly whisper when I speak.

My tongue is filling up my mouth,

I think my hair is falling out.

My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,

My temperature is one-o-eight.

My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,

There is a hole inside my ear.

I have a hangnail, and my hart is—what?

What’s that? What’s that you say?

You say today is… Saturday?

G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Ridiculous rose

Her mama said, “Don’t eat with your fingers.”

“OK,” SAID Ridiculous Rose,

So she ate with her toes!

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout

Would not take the garbage out!

She’d scour the pots and scrape the pans,

Candy the yams and spice the hams,

And though her daddy would scream and shout,

She simply would not take the garbage out.

And so it piled up to the ceilings:

Coffee grounds, potato peelings,

Brown bananas, rotten peas,

Chunks of sour cottage cheese.

It filled the can, it covered the floor,

It cracked the window and blocked the door

With bacon rinds and chicken bones,

Drippy ends of ice cream cones,

Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel,

Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,

Pizza crusts and withered greens,

Soggy beans and tangerines,

Crusts of black burned buttered toast,

Gristly bits of beefy roasts…

The garbage rolled on down the hall,

It raised the roof it broke the wall…

Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,

Globes of gooey bubble gum.

Cellophane from green baloney,

Rubbery blubbery macaroni,

Peanut butter caked and dry,

Curdled milk and crust of pie,

Moldy melons, dried-up mustard,

Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,

Cold french fried and rancid meat,

Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.

At last the garbage reached so high

That finally it touched the sky.

And all the neighbors moved away,

And none of her friends would come to play.

And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said,

“OK, I’ll take the garbage out!”

But then, of course, it was too late…

The garbage reached across the state,

From New York to the Golden Gate.

And there, in the garbage she did hate,

Poor Sarah met an awful fate,

That I cannot right now relate

Because the hour is much too late.

But children, remember Sarah Stout

And always take the garbage out!

My Rules

If you want to marry me, here’s what you’ll have to do:

You must learn how to make a perfect chicken-dumpling stew.

And you must sew my holey socks,

And soothe my troubled mind,

And develop a knack for scratching my back,

And keep my shoes spotlessly shined.

And while I rest you must rake up the leaves,

And when it is hailing and snowing

You must shovel the walk… and be still when I talk,

And—hey—where are you going?

Oh Have You Heard

Oh have you heard it’s time for vaccinations?

I think someone put salt into your tea.

They’re giving us eleven-month vacations.

And Florida has sunk into the sea.


Oh have you heard the President has measles?

The principal has just burned down the school.

Your hair is full of ants and purple weasels—

                APRIL FOOL!


Spaghetti, spaghetti, all over the place,

Up to my elbows—up to my face,

Over the carpet and under the chairs,

Into the hammock and wound round the stairs,

Filling the bathtub and covering the desk,

Making the sofa a mad mushy mess.


The party is ruined, I’m terribly worried,

The guests have all left (unless they’re all buried).

I told them, “Bring presents.” I said, “Throw confetti.”

I guess they heard wrong

‘Cause they all threw spaghetti!

The Battle

Would you like to hear

Of the terrible night

When I bravely fought the—


All right.

The Yipiyuk

In the swamplands long ago,

Where the weeds and mudglumps grow,

A Yipiyuk bit on my toe…

Exactly why I do not know.

I kicked and cried

And hollered “Oh”—

The Yipiyuk would not let go.

I whispered to him soft and low—

The Yipiyuk would not let go.

I shouted “Stop,” “Desist” and “Whoa”—

The Yipiyuk would not let go.

Yes, it was sixteen years ago,

The Yipiyuk still won’t let go.

The snow may fall,

The winds may blow—

The Yipiyuk will not let go.

The snow may melt,

The grass may grow—

The Yipiyuk will not let go.

I drag him ‘round each place I go.

This Yipiyuk that won’t let go.

And now my child at last you know

Exactly why I walk so slow.

What a Day

What a day,

Oh what a day.

My baby brother ran away,

And now my tuba will not play.

I’m eight years old

And turning grey,

Oh what a day,

Oh what a day.


Someone ate the baby,

It’s rather sad to say.

Someone ate the baby

So she won’t be out to play.

We’ll never hear her whiney cry

Or have to feel if she is dry.

We’ll never hear her asking “Why?”

Someone ate the baby.

Someone ate the baby.

It’s absolutely clear

Someone ate the baby

‘Cause the baby isn’t here.

We’ll give away her toys and clothes.

We’ll never have to wipe her nose.

Dad says, “That’s the way it goes.”

Someone ate the baby.

Someone ate the baby.

What a frightful thing to eat!

Someone ate the baby

Though she wasn’t very sweet.

It was a heartless thing to do.

The policemen haven’t got a clue.

I simply can’t imagine who

Would go and (burp) eat the baby.

The Land of Happy

Have you been to The Land of Happy,

Where everyone’s happy all day,

Where they joke and they sing

Of the happiest things,

And everything’s jolly and gay?

There’s no one unhappy in Happy,

There’s laughter and smiles galore.

I have been to The Land of Happy—

What a bore!


Chester came to school and said,

“Durn, I growed another head.”

Teacher said, “It’s time you knowed

The word is ‘grew’ instead of ‘growed’ ”

Afraid of the Dark

I’m Reginald Clark, I’m afraid of he dark

So I always insist on the light on,

And my teddy to hug,

And my blanket to rub,

And my thumby to suck or to bite on.

And three bedtime stories,

Two trips to the toilet,

Two prayers, and five hugs from my mommy,

I’m Reginald Clark, I’m afraid from the dark

So please do not close this book on me.


Skinny McGuinn

was so terribly thin

that while taking his bath

Sunday night,

out poped the plug

and sloosh-swoosh

and glug-glug

it washed the Skinny

right down the drain

out of sight.

And where is our dear Skinny

bathing tonight?

In some underground pool

down below?

Or up there so high

in the tub in the sky

where all of

the clean people go.

I Won’t Hatch

Oh I am a chickie who lives in an egg,

But I will not hatch, I will not hatch.

The hens they all cackle, the roosters all beg,

But I will not hatch, I will not hatch.

For I hear all the talk of pollution and war

As the people all shout and the airplanes roar,

So I’m staying in here where it’s safe and it’s warm,



I have nothing to put in my stew, you see,

Not a bone or and bean or a black-eyed pea,

So I’ll just climb in the pot to see

If I can make a stew out of me.

I’ll put in some pepper and salt and I’ll sit

In the bubbling water—I won’t scream a bit.

I’ll sing while I simmer, I’ll smile while I’m stewing,

I’ll taste myself often to see how I’m doing.

I’ll stir me around with this big wooden spoon

And serve myself up at a quarter to noon.

So bring out your stew bowls,

You gobblers and snackers.

Farewell—and I hope you enjoy me with crackers.