I remember being read Shel Silverstein as a kid in school -- A Light in the Attic was published the year I was born and Where the Sidewalk Ends came out when I was in first or second grade. As I went through school I wished many times that poetry had stayed as simple as it was when I was in elementary school.
Isaac has been introduced to Shel Silverstein, but his poetry was not his first taste of the poet's humor. Matt and I have passed on to Isaac our love of Johnny Cash who made Silverstein's poem/song "A Boy Named Sue" famous. We do also have two of his previously published collections of poetry which we read from occasionally. But if you tell Isaac that he is the man who wrote the song about the boy whose name was Sue, you will get a faster reaction.
This new collection of poetry is called Everything on It. We bought a copy for our niece for Christmas (don't spoil the surprise, please) and I will probably buy my own copy (for Isaac, of course) at my book fair in a few weeks. As I flip through the book, there are many poems that I would like to share here. But I will limit myself to two of my favorites. Don't worry they are short. But very poignant when you remember that the poet is no longer here.
This is the first poem in the book:
"YEARS FROM NOW"
Although I cannot see your face
As you flip these poems awhile,
Somewhere from some far-off place
I hear you laughing -- and smile.
This is the last:
"WHEN I AM GONE"
When I am gone what will you do?
Who will write and draw for you?
Someone smarter -- someone new?
Someone better -- maybe YOU!