Points of Passion (PoP2)

Poems by Shel Silverstein

I received Where The Sidewalk Ends as a Christmas gift in 1982. I know this from the inscription inside my well worn copy. The book has been with me, quite literally, ever since.

In elementary school, I performed the poems with solo gusto in my dresser mirror. In high school at my first summer camp job I always kept my copy nearby. A spontaneous reading of Sick (one of my favorites) was a surefire way to grab attention if the day’s activities went awry. In college, I hosted a local children’s television show. It was my responsibility to come up with content. There was no question where I would begin...

When I introduced my coveted volumes to my boys, I began by telling them how important these books were to Mommy, how they were special and should be treated carefully, and…then I stopped.

I knew that Shel wouldn’t have appreciated the lofty introduction.

His work isn’t meant to be revered or explained. It was created for consumption. Disappointment, loss, adventure and happiness are more easily digested in bite sized black and white.

I bought them their own copies. Everyone needs a Shel Silverstein. 

Just the other day I opened Where the Sidewalk Ends in search of inspiration and nostalgia tumbled out. A letter from my father that I received in college. A thank you note from a camp parent. A commemorative card from my grandfather’s funeral. A to-do list from my high school days.

Silverstein’s books have always transported whiffs of life that matter to me.

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