Poem Analysis

Poem Analysis

Year 12 english communications External Folio 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. Analysis: Shel Silverstein began writing at the age of twelve. He quickly grew his own style of writing and began to publish many stories. Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein’s first collection of poems, was published in 1974 and attracted attention soon becoming a classic.

The poem “where the sidewalk ends is about the journey of a better life. His poem is almost about the afterlife and heaven. When Silverstein says “and there the grass grows soft and white, and there the sun glows crimson bright” he is referring to the softness and unlikeliness of her world being that way. Silverstein uses the children as a representative for the beauty and innocence of the other world. Children are innocent enough enough to not see the dark road of life but the see the bliss at the end (the grass).

Silverstein is trying to get us to imagine a place without the black smoke and dark street winds and bends. He is telling us to free ourselves from life’s horrors and dramas and instead telling us to go to the place where the sidewalk ends. The tone of this poem give the impression that if we try to “go where the chalk white arrows go” we can be better off. Silverstein is saying that the children know how to be innocent and how to enjoy the better things in life. Silverstein uses darkness of the alley as a way to personify the bad things we encounter in life.

Children are the representative of the innocence and the good that guides us in life. Silverstein believes that we want to be as happy and pure as children at the end of the tunnel. He believes that if we live life through a child’s eyes we will enjoy the better things and not worry so much about the bad situations. Imagery is a main feature in the poem. As a descriptive piece Silverstein uses the power of words to show not tell. Personification illustrates human qualities of nature; Silverstein shows many examples of this in the poem.

Using poetic techniques help to display the setting of the place we are living in and how it differs to the place we should and want to be in; the better place. The poem seems to have a set audience of adults. The idea of the poem is to express an experience with others. Silverstein’s motive for writing the poem stems from his lonely innocent childhood and the beauty he sees within the world. Silverstein’s ability to watch the world around him and have an  deep emotional connect with the places he comes across and portray them in his poetry is one of his many talents.