February 22, 2008

Poetry Friday: Sleepy, Sleepy, Sleepy...

One terrible weekend when I was nine, I met a strange boy at the beach who walked up to me, said hello, and proceeded to make bad jokes. He was eleven, and today (a few years past eleven), he's our first house guest since we moved to the UK.

Sometimes old friends are the ones who make you the most anxious. I am just shattered I'm so tired. I haven't been sleeping -- because I've been cleaning the house in my dreams. Stupid, no? But that's the way my mind unhinges at times. And so, a bit of Shel Silverstein for me.

Whatif by Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

The rest of the poetry pals are over at Kelly's. Wishing y'all a blissfully peaceful completely unexceptional weekend of relaxation.


divatobe said...

ah the buzzing of the mind! What my voice teacher calls "the chat rooms in your brain." How to quiet them....

Sarah Stevenson said...

I love Shel Silverstein and I love this poem! I'm often plagued by the Whatifs.

I can't help hearing this in Silverstein's voice--he had an amazing reading voice, and I used to have tapes of him reading Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic.

In fact, in fifth grade we were required to memorize poems and recite them in front of the class every so often, and I know I did at least two of his--"Sick" and "Jimmy Jet and His TV Set." I'm not sure the teacher appreciated it.

Sara said...

I think the ability to worry obsessively is a talent possessed by every good writer. :)

jama said...

Glad I'm not the only one. "What if" is my middle name.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I'm with Sara and Jama and YOU! I'm a worrier, too. That puts me in good company.

Kelly said...

God, Tadmack. The times I've been through this...Good luck!!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

"Whatif I never learn to dance?" A thing worth worrying about IMO. Sometimes I think worry is a playful rehearsal preparing me to deal with life and seek the important things. That's what I tell myself, anyway.