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.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein is one of those paradoxical poems that is both simple and incredibly complex. The result, of course, is beautiful poetry. While the lines and rhyming scheme are clean and effortless, the message of the poem is deceptively deep.
“The place where the Sidewalk Ends” that Shel Silverstein talks about is really a paradise away from the ugliness and pain of the world. He makes a point of contrasting our world now, to his self-created Utopia- an uncorrupted world for the children. And while at first glance it may seem like Silverstein is being a pessimist about the dire state of society, in reality his poem is a message of hope. Where the Sidewalk Ends is a vision of what the world could be, what the world needs to be, for future generations.
Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I believe in a place where the side walk ends too. The first step in creating this world is to find a need, a problem or an injustice somewhere in our lives. No issue is too big or too small. But the key is we can’t stop there. We have to decide that injustice is not okay, and do something about it. The world’s problems are too huge to tackle as an individual, but if we start small, if every person starts small, something can be done. We can make an impact.