Intern Holly talks about her favorite childhood poet, Shel Silverstein.
Shel Silverstein is proving himself right. His book, The Giving Tree (one of my favorite books ever) is about a tree that loves a boy. The tree continues to provide for him even after the boy has grown into a weary old man, by giving him a place to rest when all that remains is a stump. Shel Silverstein’s books have nurtured me throughout my life; entertaining me with his silly rhymes, encouraging me in my mischief, inspiring me with the tree’s story of selfless love.
I recently heard a CD of Silverstein reciting his poetry from the book Where the Sidewalk Ends and he seemed more alive than ever, his writing filled the room with fun, ridiculous and impractical stories of made up monsters and imaginary friends. He imparted wisdom into his nonsense which transcended the years and became clearer as I grew older.
I suppose that is why when I heard that a new book with his previously unpublished poems was due out next year, I was surprised to read in the article that he died over 10 years ago. I’m sure I heard about it at the time, but the news clearly hadn’t registered because he was still so alive in my mind. The idea that even after his death Silverstein will be touching a new generation of children with poems never read before seems so fitting for the man who wrote The Giving Tree. Writing imparts to the writer a sense of immortality. Shel Silverstein shows us that we really do have the ability keep giving even after we are reduced to less than a stump. We can be nourishment for the soil that helps young roots to grow.