(Poem #1850) Description
George said, "God is short and fat." Nick said, "No, He's tall and lean." Len said, "With a long white beard." "No," said John, "He's shaven clean." Will said, "He's black," Bob said, "He's white." Rhonda Rose said, "He's a She." I smiled but never showed 'em all The autographed photograph God sent to me.
I love the way Silverstein can write on several levels at once, and appeal to the reader on all of those levels. Like Saxe's archetypal "Blind Men and the Elephant" (and, seriously, who wasn't reminded of that?), today's poem uses humour and a healthy dash of absurdity to highlight what, in other contexts, is a very heated question indeed - and, for such is the gift of the poet, does so entirely without offense. The technique of using children as mouthpieces to examine philosophical questions is by no means unique to Silverstein, but it is a technique he wields very well, and it makes his poems both a pleasure to read and a source of reflection. "Description" is, perhaps, a trifle more facile, a trifle less engaging than such masterpieces as "The Little Boy and the Old Man" [Poem #996], but it is a charming poem for all that. martin