Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Nighttime What Ifs

Posted by Terry McNichols
I have long been a fan of Shel Silverstein and his irreverent poems. My children grew up hearing the poems from A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends. I plan to read them to my grandchildren as well. This one is one of my favorites and I have used the "nighttime what ifs" phrase to describe many types of fears, realistic or un. I started a thread on fear here, and will be continuing, so here is the poem to serve as a reference point.
Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some What ifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old What if song:
What if I'm dumb in school?
What if they've closed the swimming pool?
What if I get beat up?
What if there's poison in my cup?
What if I start to cry?
What if I get sick and die?
What if I flunk that test?
What if green hair grows on my chest?
What if nobody likes me?
What if a bolt of lightning strikes me?
What if I don't grow tall?
What if my head starts getting smaller?
What if the fish won't bite?
What if the wind tears up my kite?
What if they start a war?
What if my parents get divorced?
What if the bus is late?
What if my teeth don't grow in straight?
What if I tear my pants?
What if I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime What ifs strike again!
What if by Shel Silverstein

(Photo by Dukal, Flickr)

2 comments:

Karla W. said...

I am an insomniac (seriously, just look at my post times). I find insomnia at its worst right before a long stretch at work with exactly the "what if's." Thankfully. it has gotten better better over time.

I used to love Where the Sidewalk Ends, but it's been ages since I read it. I don't remember this one. Thank you for sharing it.

I do have to agree with Jenny...that's why faith is so important, right?

Peggy Forster said...

Man I am right with you on this one, girls. I can really be plagued by the what if's in life, but God quietly tells me, I am here and I am in control. Brings peace for sure when I couldn't get it on my own.