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22 Poems That Make You Laugh Written by Shel Silverstein

 Shel Silverstein was a true artist and a real Rennaissance man, engaging in scriptwriting, songwriting, poetry, cartooning, and everything in between. He is most famous for his iconic children’s books, such as The Giving Tree, and his whimsical poetry collections, like Falling Up, A Light in the Attic, and Where the Sidewalk Ends. His style is satirical, joyous, and designed to bring out the child in all of us. Shel Silverstein was well known for his unique prose and poetry, and these 22 short poems give you the most perfect taste of his comedic class of writing. 

 

1. HAPPY ENDING? (Every Thing On It)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Happy Ending? (Every Thing On It)

There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start. 

 

2. PUT SOMETHING IN (A Light in the Attic)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Put Something In (A Light in the Attic)

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before. 

 

3. I MUST REMEMBER (Where the Sidewalk Ends) 

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, I Must Remember (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

I must remember…
Turkey on Thanksgiving,
Pudding on Christmas,
Eggs on Easter,
Chicken on Sunday,
Fish on Friday,
Leftovers, Monday,
But ah, me—I’m such a dunce.
I went and ate them all at once. 

 

4. HOW NOT TO HAVE TO DRY THE DISHES (Falling Up) 

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, How Not To Have To Dry The Dishes (Falling Up)

If you have to dry the dishes
(Such an awful, boring chore)
If you have to dry the dishes
(‘Stead of going to the store)
If you have to dry the dishes
And you drop one on the floor—
Maybe they won’t let you
Dry the dishes anymore. 

 

5. INVENTION (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Invention (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

I’ve done it, I’ve done it!
Guess what I’ve done!
Invented a light that plugs into the sun.
The sun is bright enough,
The bulb is strong enough,
But, oh, there’s only one thing wrong…

The cord ain’t long enough. 

 

6. LITTLE PIG’S TREAT (Falling Up)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Little Pig’S Treat (Falling Up)

Said the pig to his pop,
“There’s the candy shop.
Oh, please let’s go inside.
And I promise I won’t
Make a kid of myself
If you give me a people-back ride.”

 

7. THE ACROBATS (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, The Acrobats (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

I’ll swing
By my ankles,
She’ll cling
To your knees
As you hang
By your nose
From a high-up
Trapeze.
But just one thing, please,
Don’t sneeze.

 

8. YESEES AND NOEES (Every Thing On It)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Yesees And Noees (Every Thing On It)

The Yesees said yes to anything
That anyone suggested.
The Noees said no to everything
Unless it was proven and tested.
So the Yesees all died of much too much
And the Noees all died of fright,
But somehow I think the Thinkforyourselfees
All came out all right.

 

9. COLORS (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Colors (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

My skin is kind of sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are grayish blueish green,
But I’m told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
But it’s silver when it’s wet.
And all the colors I am inside
Have not been invented yet. 

 

10. FALLING UP (Falling Up)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Falling Up (Falling Up)

I tripped on my shoelace
And I fell up—
Up to the roof tops,
Up over the town,
Up past the tree tops,
Up over the mountains,
Up where the colors
Blend into the sounds.
But it got me so dizzy
When I looked around,
I got sick to my stomach
And I threw down. 

 

11. IT’S DARK IN HERE (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, It’s Dark In Here (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

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.

 

12. DIVING BOARD (Falling Up)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Diving Board (Falling Up)

You’ve been up on that diving board
Making sure that it’s nice and straight.
You’ve made sure that it’s not too slick.
You’ve made sure it can stand the weight.
You’ve made sure that the spring is tight.
You’ve made sure that the cloth won’t slip.
You’ve made sure that it bounces right,
And that your toes can get a grip—
And you’ve been up there since half past five
Doin’ everything… but DIVE. 

 

13. SIGNALS (A Light in the Attic) 

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Signals (A Light in the Attic) 

When the light turns green, you go. 
When the light turns red, you stop. 
But what do you do 
When the light turns blue 
With orange and lavender spots?

 

14. OURCHESTRA (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Ourchestra (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

So you haven’t got a drum, just beat your belly.
So I haven’t got a horn—I’ll play my nose.
So we haven’t any cymbals—
We’ll just slap our hands together,
And though there may be orchestras
That sound a little better
With their fancy shiny instruments
That cost an awful lot—
Hey, we’re making music twice as good
By playing what we’ve got! 

 

15. JAKE SAYS (Every Thing On It)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Jake Says (Every Thing On It)

Yes, I'm adopted.
My folks were not blessed
With me in the usual way.
But they picked me,
They chose me
From all the rest,
Which is lots more than most kids can say

 

16. EARLY BIRD (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Early Bird (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
If you’re a bird, be an early bird—
But if you’re a worm, sleep late.

 

17. MONSTERS I’VE MET (A Light in the Attic)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Monsters I’Ve Met (A Light in the Attic)

I met a ghost, but he didn’t want my head,
He only wanted to know the way to Denver.
I met a devil, but he didn’t want my soul,
He only wanted to borrow my bike awhile.
I met a vampire, but he didn’t want my blood,
He only wanted two nickels for a dime.
I keep meeting all the right people—
At all the wrong times.  

 

18. SCALE (Falling Up)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Scale (Falling Up) 

If I could only see the scale,
I’m sure that it would state
That I’ve lost ounces… maybe pounds
Or even tons of weight.
“You’d better eat some pancakes—
You’re skinny as a rail.”
I’m sure that’s what the scale would say…
If I could see the scale. 

 

19. NOPE (Falling Up)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Nope (Falling Up)

I put a piece of cantaloupe
Underneath the microscope,
I saw a million strange things sleepin’,
I sawa  zillion weird things creepin’,
I saw some green things twist and bend—
I won’t eat cantaloupe again. 

 

20. WARNING (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Warning (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Inside everybody’s nose
There lives a sharp-toothed snail.
So if you stick your finger in,
He may bite off your nail.
Stick it farther up inside,
And he may bite your ring off.
Stick it all the way, and he
May bite the whole darn thing off.

 

21. MY ZOOOTCH (Every Thing On It)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, My Zoootch (Every Thing On It)

I never have nightmares,
I’m happy to say.
The Zoootch on my bed
Always scares ‘em away. 

 

22. YEARS FROM NOW (Every Thing On It)

Shorty and funny poems from writer, cartoonist and author of children’s book The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein, Years From Now (Every Thing On It)

Although I cannot see your face
As you flip these poems awhile,
Somewhere from some far-off place
I hear you laughing—and I smile.

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