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Recipe for a Hippopotamus Sandwich -- Shel Silverstein

Uniting the hippo and food motifs...
(Poem #845) Recipe for a Hippopotamus Sandwich
 A hippo sandwich is easy to make.
 All you do is simply take
 One slice of bread,
 One slice of cake,
 Some mayonnaise
 One onion ring,
 One hippopotamus
 One piece of string,
 A dash of pepper --
 That ought to do it.
 And now comes the problem...
 Biting into it!
-- Shel Silverstein
        (from 'Where the Sidewalk Ends')

The word that comes to mind when speaking of Silverstein is 'inimitable' -
his best poems have a *flavour* about them that is hard to define, but
unmistakably there.

Silverstein was, sadly, not a poet I was aware of as a child - I'd read the
occasional poem in anthologies (and, what's more, remembered them, so that
when I finally did discover his books I could point to the odd piece and say
'hey - I've seen that before'), but his name was lost among a bunch of other,
more-deservingly-forgotten poets. I'm glad to say that his poems lose very
little when read from an adult perspective, but I can't help but wonder how
much more magical they'd have been when I was part of the target audience.

Today's piece is pretty self-explanatory - but note the oh-so-innocent way
'one hippopotamus' is slipped into the ingredient list. And where but in a
child's universe would one slice of bread and one of cake make up a sandwich
recipe? :)


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An excellent Silverstein page is
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And here's a great site devoted to all things hippopotamous:

See particularly the poems section:
(complete with unexpected entries by L. Sprague de Camp and Jane Yolen, and
illustrations for both yesterday's poem and today's)

And speaking of recipes, there's the ever-popular stuffed camel:


8 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Martin DeMello said...

Speaking of children's poetry and hippotami, Sandra Boynton's 'board book' "But
Not the Hippopotamus" is an absolute delight.

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Roger said...

Not forgetting Flanders and Swann's marvelous song of the singing hippotami
(an army of hippo-pot-ami) hollering

Mud Mud, glorious mud,

Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood

Roger Jenkins

kamagra said...

ok this poem just makes me hungry.. and I didn't have breaskfast yet...
Thanks a lot haha

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