Put Something In

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Put Something In

by Shel Silverstein

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.


This eight line, one stanza poem is comprised of two sentences with a rhyme scheme of XAXA XBXB. Silverstein emphasizes silliness through his use of nonsense verse, including “mumble-gumble” and “loony-goony.”

The subject matter of this poem is straight-forward. The Speaker encourages the reader to engage in something silly and creative – whatever that might look like. Be alive. Enjoy yourself.

The sentiment of encouraged silliness was common for Silverstein who is probably most famous for writing children’s books and poems. That said, his career covered a wide variety of genres including work as a cartoonist (for Playboy!), poetry, music, and theater.

Silverstein’s “A Boy Named Sue” won a 1970 Grammy. He was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for his song “I’m Checkin’ Out” in the film Postcards from the Edge.

Together with longtime friend and producer Ron Haffkine, he released “Where the Sidewalk Ends” on cassette in 1983, and as an LP phonograph record in 1984, winning the 1984 Grammy Award for Best Recording For Children.

He was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. Silverstein was inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame in 2014.

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