When he opened it, he looked at it skeptically. His mother told him it was a book of poems, and that she’d had a copy, too, when she was a little girl. He told her, “You can have it if you want, Mom.”
It was the first time I’ve ever had a present re-gifted immediately after it was opened. (Luckily, we had also purchased some Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle dolls as well. They were more of a crowd-pleaser.)
Eventually, our nephew learned to love the Silverstein book. We were going through his bedtime routine a few months ago; since he’s seven now, he usually reads to us before bedtime, rather than the other way around. He read several poems out loud to us, giggling uncontrollably the entire time in that adorable way seven-year-old boys giggle. It was so sweet to see him laughing at poems like Cloony The Clown (a poem I once recited in front of my sixth grade English class) and Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout.
Currently I have two favorite Shel Silverstein poems, and they do more than just make me giggle. The first is Hug O’ War, pictured above, which is cheesy and adorable and a pretty dead-on tribute to the way I wish the world worked.
The other poem is The Voice, which is taped to my desk at work. It’s a poem that doesn’t really have the Shel Silverstein silliness – it’s just simple and sweet and true. There’s a voice inside all of us that guides us, if we’re quiet and still enough to listen.