display | more...


What a Day
What a day,
Oh what a day.
My baby brother ran away,
And now my tuba will not play.
I'm eight years old
And turning grey, Oh what a day, Oh what a day.

Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends




This is one of the few poems I remember from the 5th grade when Miss Wilson would read Shel Silverstein books to us. I just graduated from college last spring, but i still find myself repeating this poem whenever my day begins to go sour.
Something interesting to discuss is the illustration accompanying this poem in the book Where the Sidewalk Ends. A boy (presumably our eight year old narrator) is sitting on a stool playing a tuba, but if one takes a close look at the tuba bell, a small child's face is peering out. That's the irony of this poem! The baby brother hasn't run away, he is just hiding in the tuba, which is why it "will not play". We are to assume that this stress is behind the narrator's "turning grey". But since there is really no problem, the eight year old is turning grey for no reason.

This is why I enjoy this poem so much. It is so incredibly simple, but has a much more profound meaning behind it. When things look bad, when life seems to mock your every move, when it seems hopeless and impossible, it might indeed just "seem" like it's a bad day. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. When you have "one of those days", don't fret, it may just seem that way.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.