Tag Archives: polymath

Sunday Poem 66

Shel Silverstein was born in 1930 in Chicago, Illinois.  He was a poet, a writer of children’s books, songwriter, musician, cartoonist and screenwriter. He used the pseudonym ‘Uncle Shelby’ for his enormously popular children’s books, the most famous being ‘The Giving Tree’. His body of work is enormous and too prolific for me to do justice to it here. Look him up.

He started drawing when he was 12, copying cartoons, although he admits that he began to draw and write when he realised that he wasn’t much of a hit with girls. He went to art school but left after a year and made his living as a cartoonist.   

In 1957, he became one of the leading cartoonists in Playboy Magazine, which sent him around the world to create an illustrated travel journal with reports from far-flung locales. During the 1950s and 1960s, he produced 23 installments of his regular “Shel Silverstein Visits…” feature for Playboy. Employing a sketchbook format with typewriter-styled captions, he documented his own experiences at such locations as a New Jersey nudist colony and the Chicago White Sox training camp.

Later in life, Silverstein loved to spend time at his favorite places, such as Greenwich Village, Key West, Martha’s Vineyard and Sausalito, California. Silverstein continued to create plays, songs, poems, stories and drawings until his death in 1999. He died at his home in Key West, Florida on 9th May 1999, of a heart attack, and his body was found by two housekeepers the following Monday, 10th May. It was reported that he could have died on either day that weekend.

I love this poem because it’s simple and fun.

Bear In There – by Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

There’s a Polar Bear
In our Frigidaire–
He likes it ’cause it’s cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish,
He’s nibbling the noodles,
He’s munching the rice,
He’s slurping the soda,
He’s licking the ice.
And he lets out a roar
If you open the door.
And it gives me a scare
To know he’s in there–
That Polary Bear
In our Fridgitydaire.

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