Poetry Friday Poetry-Filled Yuletide Cheer Reading Themes

Poetry Friday: Shel Silverstein’s ‘He Tried to Hide’

Several weeks back, we did a 2-in-1 Feature of Shel Silverstein‘s Don’t Bump the Glump and his posthumously-published book Every Thing On It. I was happy to note as I was reading through the latter that there were several poems that fit our bimonthly theme on Paranormal Twists.

Poster courtesy of our treasured Iphigene

My poetry offering then is something along these lines. Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Karissa at The Iris Chronicles.

HE TRIED TO HIDE – Shel Silverstein, p. 105 from Every Thing on It
He dreamed of a glunk with a horrible face
And thought he’d better hide someplace.
He tried to hide between the sheets
And found ogre with two left feet.
He tried to hide in the dresser drawer
And heard a hungry tiger roar.
He tried to hide beneath the bed
And found a body without a head.
He tried to hide behind the door
And heard a sleeping monster snore.
He tried to hide down in the basement
And found a dragon to his amazement.
He tried to hide beneath the stair
And found a mummy grinnin’ there.
He tried to hide behind the drapes
And found a dozen hairy apes.
He tried to hide behind a dresser
And found a murderin’ mad professor.
He tried to hide in a pile of clothes
And found a witch with a warty nose.
He tried to hide under the sink
And found a vampire takin’ a drink.
He tried to hide in the garbage pail
And found a werewolf sharpenin’ his nails.
So he went back to bed, that’s what he did,
And he dreamed of tomorrow,
And there he hid.

It’s curious when our only escape can be found in snoozeland. And that there are monsters lurking in all the usual nooks and crannies where one takes refuge in – plus they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Again, while playful, Shel Silverstein made me reflect and think yet again of the monsters in our lives – whatever form they usually take. 🙂

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

32 comments on “Poetry Friday: Shel Silverstein’s ‘He Tried to Hide’

  1. Hadn’t read this poem by Shel Silverstein. Agree, it is interesting that sleep can be the escape. It’s time to laugh and observe our own mind chatter, or it can become the monster in our lives. Constantly looping the same endless sound track.:) Didn’t mean to get heavy. It’s Friday for you. Friday PPB day for many of us. Have a great weekend Myra!


    • Hi Pat, it isn’t heavy at all, I like those thoughts. 🙂 Will visit PPB too if I find the time, I was actually thinking that we could join it and post a day in advance. Will that work, you think?


  2. Shel Silverstein…now that is a blast from the past for me!


  3. Hiding in tomorrow — what an imaginative leap.


  4. What a great argument for procrastination — just put it off to tomorrow.

    I think I could put this to good use, sometimes.

    Thank you, Myra.


    • I have a special fear of procrastination. I try to schedule things in advance. Way in advance, I think. It also seems to have no place here in Singapore, nosiree. 🙂


  5. Great post, Myra – thanks! Nowhere to turn but to sleep – kids and adults know the feeling. Though I like that the speaker is able to keep turning away from the (humorous here) monsters and is not consumed by them. At my blog today, I have dragons!


  6. Pingback: Poetry Friday | The Iris Chronicles

  7. Great connection to this poem, either realistically or metaphorically. My granddaughter has been working with opposites at her pre-school & just told her mother that the opposite of awake is ‘scared’. She’s been lately waking up scared of some noises in the night, etc. She’s nearly 3 & just becoming so aware of the world around her. And of course we all try to hide from our own monsters and sleep is often palliative. Thank you for such a thoughtful post, Myra.


    • Hi Linda, I find that as we get older, we do discover a great many monsters of our own making. I do hope that your little three your old would be able to vanquish her own monsters soon. My ten year old learned how to sleep on her own room when she turned eight. A little late for Western standards, I know, but quite a huge thing for us here in Southeast Asia, believe me, particularly among Filipinos.


  8. Fun poem — love the rhythm and the chronicle of scary things :).


  9. I remember going through a phase like this with my son many years ago – we had a conversation about where exactly all these monsters were that sounded very mush like the poem you shared today, Myra! In fact, I just sent your post to him (at college, and monster free these days) as a reminder…thanks for this trip down memory lane!


  10. Sometimes sleep is the only refuge. When work interrupts our dreams, that’s when we know we’re really in trouble! Thank you for sharing, Myra!


    • Hi Jeff, how I wish I could find more time for sleep. I will myself to sleep after my daughter leaves in the morning, but to no avail. Too many things to attend to. I wish I could slow down though. Even weekends are packed. So yes, the little time for sleep is .. refuge.


  11. Will you please check the fourth line of this poem for me? I think an article “an” might have been omitted in the posting. I’d like to know.
    Great choice. thanks for sharing this poem.



  12. Shel Silverstein hasn’t really entered our cultural heritage in the same way here but a US friend gave us a copy of ‘A giraffe and a Half’ which both boys have enjoyed. Is this poem illustrated in the same way? I love his line drawings…


  13. I’d love to go back to bed right now and hide in sleep, if not in tomorrow!


  14. Great poem! I had not seen this one. Very appropriate poem for boys, who love gross stuff! I’d love to see an illustrated book based on this poem.


    • Hi KK, what I find lovely about Shel is that more than the gross stuff, he does make the adult reader think. He has a reflective way of putting twists in his poetry giving it unexpected substance and depth.


  15. What a fun poem especially since I like to nap!


  16. This is my favorite —

    He tried to hide behind a dresser
    And found a murderin’ mad professor.

    Who but Shel could get away with that?!


  17. Pingback: Carnival of Children’s Literature: A February Round-Up and More «

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