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Best Shel Silverstein Quotes on Aging

Sarah Stevenson
By Sarah StevensonApril 1, 2014

A Place for Mom’s most engaging Facebook post was the Shel Silverstein poem, “The Little Boy and Old Man.” Due to it’s popularity, we’ve collected more of Silverstein’s wisdom for you and your loved ones to share in today’s post.

Best Shel Silverstein Quotes on Aging

Shel Silverstein (1930-1999), is known as one of America’s most beloved poets for children, but true Silverstein fans know his wisdom and humor transcends age. In fact, his poems have just as much to tell us about being an adult and getting older, as he never stopped writing or drawing throughout his life.

Proving that you’re never too old for a little imagination and a lot of laughter, we shared his poem The Little Boy and Old Man on our blog and Facebook page, and it proved to be one of our most popular posts ever, with over 4,000 likes, 560 comments, and 71,000 shares.

So, we’ve scoured his impressive oeuvre for more gems on life and aging for all, and reprinted a variety of poems and quotes here. Some are short and pithy, some are longer, but all of them are sure to prompt a smile.  Enjoy!

Shel Silverstein on Aging

The Little Boy and Old Man

Said the little boy, sometimes I drop my spoon.

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Said the little old man, I do that too.

The little boy whispered, I wet my pants.

I do too, laughed the old man.

Said the little boy, I often cry.

The old man nodded. So do I.

But worst of all, said the boy,

it seems grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.

And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.

I know what you mean, said the little old man.

“If the track is tough and the hill is rough,

thinking you can just ain’t enough!”

Listen to the Mustn’ts

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,

Listen to the DON’TS

Listen to the SHOULDN’TS


Listen to the NEVER HAVES

Then listen close to me—

Anything can happen, child,

ANYTHING can be.

Put Something In

Draw a crazy picture,

Write a nutty poem,

Sing a mumble-gumble song,

Whistle through your comb.

Do a loony-goony dance

‘Cross the kitchen floor,

Put something silly in the world

That ain’t been there before.

How Many, How Much

How many slams in an old screen door?

Depends how loud you shut it.

How many slices in a bread?

Depends how thin you cut 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.

“There are no happy endings.

Endings are the saddest part,

So just give me a happy middle

And a very happy start.”

Frozen Dream

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.

We’re all worth the same

When we turn off the light.

from The Giving Tree

…And after a long time the boy came back again.

“I am sorry, Boy,” said the tree, “but I have nothing left to give you-

My apples are gone.”

“My teeth are too weak for apples,” said the boy.

“My branches are gone,” said the tree.

“You cannot swing on them-”

“I am too old to swing on branches,” said the boy.

“My trunk is gone,” said the tree.

“You cannot climb-”

“I am too tired to climb,” said the boy.

“I am sorry,” sighed the tree.

“I wish that I could give you something… but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry…”

“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy, “just a quiet pleace to sit and rest. I am very tired.”

“Well,” said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could,

“well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”

And the boy did.

And the tree was happy.

…All the magic I have known, I’ve had to make myself.

Have we missed any of your favorite poems? Please share them with us in the comments below!

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Sarah Stevenson
Sarah Stevenson

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