Whatif the whatifs come true?

Shel Silverstein

I came across this poem again the other day by Shel Silverman. It reminded me what a talented man he was.  Silverman (b. 1932 -1999 America) was not only a poet, he was a screenwrtiter, illustrator of childrens books, musician, cartoonist and singer songwriter.  ‘Sylvia’s Mother’ a hit for Dr Hook was written by him and he wrote many more songs.

  Life is full of whatifs isn’t it.  It’s begins as a niggling doubt, blown out of all proportion, a constant drip drip drip, then it gains momentum as you get older.  As you look back on those childhood whatifs (that usually amounted to nothing) you becomeonly too aware  of more serious situations that really can affect your life, like accidents, illness and  bereavement.  

Whatif by Shel Silverstein


Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

 I’ve gone through these whatifs.  There are 20 mentioned.  I was a bit disconcerted to realise that 9 of those had happened to me!  I’m still here to tell the tale though 🙂


Lots of information about Shel Silverstein here

6 thoughts on “Whatif the whatifs come true?

  1. O echostains–was browsing your blog and this post and poem–well, this really resonates with me this day. While considering courses of action, wondering “what is the best thing for me?” and many ‘what ifs. For some reason it’s a relief finding this piece of common ground/experience.
    Thank you.

  2. It’s a great poem isn’t it – kind of puts things in perspective I found. At least I didn’t get the green hair – that’s a blessing 🙂 got a few of the others and still here though 🙂 Thanks for stopping by 47whitebuffalo, always appreciated 🙂

  3. Hi, yes unfortunately the whatifs that don’t come true are replaced with worse more grown up what ifs (without the ifs – more like what the ?), and only too real nightmares! Thanks for visiting – it’s appreciated 🙂

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