Shel Silverstein: Danny O’Dare

I never heard of Shel Silverstein until quite recently. In fact, I never read much poetry until quite recently, too. I have found, though, that I like my poetry the way I like my prose: fast-moving, not too ornate, but with enough imagery and action to make me want more.

A perfect example of what I do like is this poem by Silverstein. It’s called Danny O’Dare. I love the way it dashes along.

Read it and enjoy.

Danny O'Dare, the dancin' bear,
Ran away from the County Fair,
Ran right up to my back stair
And thought he'd do some dancin' there.
He started jumpin' and skippin' and kickin',
He did a dance called the Funky Chicken,
He did the Polka, he did the Twist,
He bent himself into a pretzel like this.
He did the Dog and the Jitterbug,
He did the Jerk and the Bunny Hug.
He did the Waltz and the Boogaloo,
He did the Hokey-Pokey too.
He did the Bop and the Mashed Potata,
He did the Split and the See Ya Later.
And now he's down upon one knee,
Bowin' oh so charmingly,
And winkin' and smilin'--it's easy to see
Danny O'Dare wants to dance with me.
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9 responses to “Shel Silverstein: Danny O’Dare

  1. You need to read more Shel Silverstein. You will love it. It’s children’s poetry, but I cannot think of an adult who hasn’t been taken in by his fabulous wit.

  2. Shel is by one my extreme short list of brilliant writers. He wrote for Playboy and lived in the Mansion. He wrote songs for such as Dylan and Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, wrote reams of brilliant poems, which my kids love, and is one of my personal heroes. If I could be anyone other than me, I would likely he Shel Silverstein.

  3. …and for something really wicked by him (in a wonderful way), take a look at “Uncle Shelby’s ABZs”. You won’t stop laughing for weeks.

  4. Beautiful. Thanks, Cindy.

  5. One of my daughters loved Shel Silverstein so much that she memorized one of his poems in junior high school. She’s nearly 30 now and can still recite it. It’s called “Sick” and is about a child thinking up all the reasons he/she can’t go to school today. It’s really clever and charming. My two favorite books by him are, The Light in the Attic, and Where the Sidewalk Ends. There’s also a really cute book called The Missing Piece. You might also like e. e. cummings and Ogden Nash.

  6. That’s it – I’m ordering Sidewalk and Attic today. I looked for Silverstein’s work in two stores earlier and couldn’t see any.

  7. My favorite:

    I asked the zebra, Are you black with white strips? Or white with black strips?
    And the zebra asked me:
    Are you good with bad habits? Or are you bad with good habits?
    Are you noisy with quiet times? Or are you quiet with noisy times?
    Are you happy with sad days? Or are you sad with happy days?
    Are you neat with some sloppy ways? Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
    And on and on and on and on
    And on and on he went.
    I’ll never ask a zebra about stripes again.
    ~ Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic

  8. My 2nd favorite:

    Listen to the mustn’ts child. Listen to the don’ts.
    Listen to the shouldn’t haves, the impossibles, the won’ts.
    Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me.
    Anything can happen child. Anything can be.
    ~ Shel Silverstein

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