Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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Luigi Coppola Male, 37, United Kingdom (6/19/2004 4:19:00 AM)

Hello All,

Just to get the ball rolling, I've pasted below the top poem at the moment here at PoemHunter. What do people think about it?

Where the Sidewalk Ends
by Shel Silverstein

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.


IMO, the predominantly anapestic metre, along with the rhyme scheme, create a wonderful pace. The images tread near to the cliché and obvious (crimson bright, streets wind and bend) , but can also be very vivid and original (peppermint wind, asphalt flowers) . Silverstein's children’s poetry background might belittle this poem to the sidelines, but I think it's quite effective. The images of hop-scotch and childhood wisdom are charming and mysterious; made me reread the poem – an achievement in of itself…

Anyone agree (or more interestingly, disagree? !)



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  • Gold Star - 5,611 Points Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (5/24/2009 4:11:00 PM) Post reply
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    good poem...

  • Rookie Douglas Hahn (10/19/2004 8:43:00 PM) Post reply

    I won't go thru it all, but it's mostly iambic. I do enjou the da-da-dum's that happen at the end of some of the lines, tho... I've loved Silverstein since I was a little kid; I don't think I'd be in a top-notch MFA program if it wasn't for him! Remember: a syllable is stressed in relation to those surrounding it... its not simply rote, but EAR.

    Tho I lost the book years and years ago, I still recall the artwork... so thank you!


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