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It's Dark in Here -- Shel Silverstein

(Poem #1670) It's Dark in Here
 I am writing these poems
 From inside a lion,
 And it's rather dark in here.
 So please excuse the handwriting
 Which may not be too clear.
 But this afternoon by the lion's cage
 I'm afraid I got too near.
 And I'm writing these lines
 From inside a lion,
 And it's rather dark in here.
-- Shel Silverstein
A bit of nostalgia attached to today's piece - it's the first Silverstein
poem I ever read, thanks to it being included in one of my school poetry
books. This was way back in my early childhood, when I had no idea who
Silverstein was, but my siblings and I all adored the poem and can, to this
day, quote it with much glee and amusement.

It appears to have started life as a song - you can see the lyrics at
[broken link] - and there's a charming
illustration alongside, though not the one I remember from my textbook.

And speaking of Silverstein and textbooks, I'd like to quote a marvellous
excerpt from Jim Trelease's "Read Aloud Handbook" that I discovered when
searching for today's poem:

    'Where the Sidewalk Ends', by Shel Silverstein, is so popular with
    children, librarians and teachers insist it is the book most frequently
    stolen from their schools and libraries. Over the last eight years I've
    asked eighty thousand teachers if they know 'Where the Sidewalk Ends'
    (two million copies in print), and three-quarters of the teachers raise
    their hands. "Wonderful!" I say. "Now, who has enough copies of this
    book for every child in your room?" Nobody raises a hand. In eight
    years, only eighteen teachers out of eighty thousand had enough copies
    in their rooms for every child.

    I continue, "Do each of you know the books in your classroom no child
    would ever consider stealing?" They nod in recognition. "Do you have
    enough copies of those books for every child in the room?" Reluctantly,
    they nod agreement. Here we've got a book kids love to read so much
    they'll steal it right and left and we haven't got enough copies; but
    every year we've got twenty-eight copies of a book they hate.

       -- Jim Trelease, "What's Right or Wrong With Poetry"
                         [broken link]

Check Trelease's website [] out - I think
he's just become one of my heroes.


45 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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It's Dark in Here, is a good poem because for me it's creative because seems a poem who had fear to reaching goals, so that's a good way to represent what we want.m10m

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Anonymous said...

I think this poem is well written, and to those who understand the deeper meaning behind it, will enjoy it as I have. Don't take it in the literal sense, think about it. The persona is inside a lion and it is dark in there, and he was protected before as the lion was caged. This lion can be a representative of what is "Dangerous" to society and should not be intereferred with. He/She states that they are afraid they got too close to the lion's cage. Getting close to what persons in society are barred from, has consequences and his unfortunate end is being inside a lion. The persona's curiosity got the best of him, and drove him towards the cage. The darkness can be representative of the persona understanding the lion, and darkness is usually associated with what is hidden from the light. These lions thoughts of being barred from society. The lesson here, can be, was it worth the persona rebelling against society's warnings by getting close to his cage, did the understanding of the lion satisfy him? It seems not, as the repetitiveness of the lion being dark is emphasized. This teaches readers to stay away from what is obviously dangerous, and if you interfere with what shouldn't be, you will come to an unfortunate end :)

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