Friday, June 05, 2009

"Where the Sidewalk Ends"

From Singles 2009

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

While I've known the title and cover for years and years and years, I had never read Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends".

So, why read it now? That would be a result of "Title Recall" played at this year's On the Beach. The book wasn't well known - or maybe wasn't known would be a more apt description - by the other players (read this as Australian players.) So, I thought I'd pick up a copy and start it circulating through Aus.

It was OK. There are some poems I liked a lot. (Like the one above - and "The Generals"). I was surprised to learn that "The Unicorn" (song) was first "The Unicorn" (poem). In general, I found I liked the poems better if I only read a few at a time and if I read them aloud. Still, some that didn't work for me - I didn't like the cadence (or found it awkward) or the "smart alecky*" attitude and on some I had a problem with the rhyming structure. Maybe it is because I know them better (I love you long time) I much prefer the poems of Maurice Sendak: particularly "Chicken Soup with Rice" - brilliant!! and Robert Louis Stevenson: "A Child's Garden of Verses".

*Had to check the spelling and found synonym: weisenheimer. Haven't thought of that word in forever...probably not since my mother called me a weisenheimer!

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