Friday, April 16, 2010

Poetry and Simple Joys

The poem I chose today, Where the Sidewalk Ends, takes me back to childhood; the simplicity of it.  I can vividly remember the sidewalk I followed, on my way to first grade.  There were places where the smooth continuity of the pavement was disrupted by the crumbling of age; or the intrusion of some massive tree root that had pushed it's way under the squares of cement.  This caused a sudden rise, and tall grass grew in the resulting cracks.  I was fascinated by the power nature had in undoing what man had laid down.

Many of my favorite places to play were where sidewalks ended.  I loved walking the dirt road that stretched behind our house.  There were fields on each side.  In the spring, I could see the faint green shoots coming up through the dirt.  Tall grass and weeds grew along the ditch-bank.  Occasionally, a pheasant would shoot from it's cover, colors vibrant against the blue sky.  There were sounds of civilization in the distance; the drone of a mower or a tractor, the hum of a car or two speeding by; a neighboring farmer's dog barking; and occasionally, my Grandma's voice lifted in a song or a yodel.

Sitting in the long grasses at the end of the road, I let my imagination run.  I traveled far away lands and had amazing adventures.  There were lions and elephants, gypsies and pirates.  As I look out the window just behind this desk, I see a well established neighborhood.  There are rules and regulations that must be followed to live here.  The sidewalks are strictly maintained.  No long grasses or weeds are allowed.  Everything must be precisely manicured.  I do understand the need for this, but once in a while I long for those wild places.  The places where imagination ran free, where lions and gypsies walked among us. 

Where the Sidewalk Ends 
by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.


I hope you enjoyed traveling back in time with me.  Poetry month has caused me to search my mind for poems that meant something to me.  I love this poem. I love thinking about the simple joys of childhood.  
Now before I forget, please feel free to take the image and use it.  It came to me from Dover Publications as a royalty free image.  Click on the it to enlarge, then right click, and save to your computer.

Wishing you a gorgeous springtime afternoon!

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