Best Shel Silverstein Quotes and Poems

These Shel Silverstein quotes and poems will give you plenty to think about. More than one generation has been raised on the poems, cartoons, and children’s books from Shel Silverstein.

As he was popularly known, Uncle Shelby contributed to the world in so many beautiful ways – as a children’s books author, cartoonist, poet, screenwriter, singer, and songwriter.

With over 20 million copies of books, including the super-popular The Giving Tree, he has left an unwavering mark on the minds of millions. Always loved and cherished for his works that inspired not only the young but adults as well, Uncle Shelby’s contributions go beyond the literary world.

The two-time Grammy Awards winner, one-time Academy Award, and Golden Globe nominee was an unmatched talent in his field. Here are some beautiful Shel Silverstein quotes and poems that will brighten your day.

Quotes by Shel Silverstein

If you’re behind the times, they won’t notice you. If you’re in tune with them, you’re no better than they are, so that they won’t care much for you. Be just a little ahead of them.

I was always prepared for success, but that means that I have to be ready for failure, too.

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.

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If you’re a bird, be an early bird. But if you’re a worm, sleep late.

So please get your rags
And your polishing jars,
Somebody has to go polish the stars.

What did the carrot say to the wheat? Lettuce rest; I’m feeling beet.

Learn more about Shel Silverstein.

Shel Silverstein Quotes on Love

Just Me, Just Me Sweet Marie, she loves just me (She also loves Maurice McGhee). No, she don’t; she loves just me (She also loves Louise Dupree). No, she don’t, she loves just me (She also loves the willow tree) – No, she don’t, she loves just me! (Poor, poor fool, why can’t you see She can love others and still love thee.)

… and she loved a boy very, very much– even more, than she loved herself.

So I’m all of love that could make it today.

More Sayings

Listen to the mustn’ts, child – Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts – Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

Tell me I’m clever, Tell me I’m kind, Tell me I’m talented, Tell me I’m cute, Tell me I’m sensitive, Graceful and wise, Tell me I’m perfect – But tell me the truth.

I know a way to stay friends forever, There’s really nothing to it, I tell you what to do, And you do it.

How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em.
How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.

You should just go about your business, do your work and not care about how it’s received.

There is a voice inside of you that whispers all day long, ‘I feel this is right for me; I know that this is wrong.’ No teacher, preacher, parent, friend or wise man can decide what’s right for you — just listen to the voice that speaks inside.

If the track is tough and the hill is rough, THINKING you can just ain’t enough!
(Some Shel Silverstein quotes are very empowering.)

People are always giving you credit for really wanting to say more than you said.

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Shel Silverstein Poems

Talked my head off
Worked my tail off
Cried my eyes out
Walked my feet off
Sang my heart out
So you see,
There’s really not much left of me.

I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles – and everyone wins.
Where the Sidewalk Ends

She drank from a bottle called DRINK ME
And she grew so tall,
She ate from a plate called TASTE ME
And down she shrank so small.
And so she changed, while other folks
Never tried nothin’ at all.

I asked the Zebra,
are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?
And the zebra asked me,
Are you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?

If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hope, a pray-er, a magic-bean-buyer
If you’re a pretender com, sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in! Come in!

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Short Shel Silverstein poems

Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.

The baby bat
Screamed out in fright,
Turn on the dark,
I’m afraid of the light.

All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin’ In The Sun,
Talkin’’ Bout The Things
They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done…
But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All Ran Away And Hid
From One Little Did.

Underneath my outside face
There’s a face that none can see.
A little less smiley,
A little less sure,
But a whole lot more like me.

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.

Tip: Use these poems as captions for photos on Facebook and Instagram.

Life Lessons

Don’t be dependent on anyone else. I want to go everywhere, look at, and listen to everything. You can go crazy with some of the wonderful stuff there is in life.

Just ’cause somethin’ ain’t been done. Don’t mean it can’t be did.

I believe that if you don’t want to do anything, then sit there and don’t do it, but don’t expect people to hand you a corn beef sandwich and wash your socks for you and unzip your fly for you.

The young people have no patience with craftsmanship anymore. They think; therefore, they am. It’s not enough. You don’t think, therefore, you are. You do, therefore, you are, or else you aren’t.

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

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Never explain what you do. It speaks for itself. You only muddle it by talking about it.

To me, freedom entitles you to do something, not to not do something.

Imagine – four years you could have spent traveling around Europe meeting people, or going to the Far East of Africa or India, meeting people, exchanging ideas, reading all you wanted to anyway. Instead, I wasted it at Roosevelt.

I’ll take the dream I had last night
And put it in my freezer,
So someday, long and far away
When I’m an old grey geezer,
I’ll take it out and thaw it out,
This lovely dream I’ve frozen,
And boil it up and sit me down
A dip my old cold toes in.

But all the magic I have known I’ve had to make myself.

This bridge will take you halfway there – the last few steps you will have to take yourself.

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If you have any favorite Shel Silverstein quotes or poems you’d like to see included on this page, please let us know on the Contact page. Thanks!

By Mike O’Halloran

Mike is the founder and editor of Greeting Card Poet.

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