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Book Talk: The peacefulness of poetry

By Alanna Warwick-Smith

where-the-sidewalk-ends-cover-

Poetry can come in a number of different forms such as sonnets, limericks, or haiku — just to name a few. Some poetry rhymes and has a particular metre, but most serious poetry written today is free verse, which has neither rhyme nor metre.

In times of strife, undue stress or burden in my life, the right poem can feel like a glass of water on a hot summer day. Poetry can provide me with comfort through the opportunity to sit with my thoughts and enjoy the simple pleasures of the written word.

While spending a lot of time at home during March, as many of us were as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, I revisited “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein.

The writer of childhoods and creator of dreams, Shel Silverstein is most known for “The Giving Tree,” published in 1964. However, he was also a celebrated poet.

“Where the Sidewalk Ends” is a book of poetry described as “written for all ages.” While approaching poetry with childlike titles such as “Dancing Pants” through his conversational writing style and use of illustration, Silverstein created a compilation of poems that were made for every member of the family to enjoy.

One common aspect of most good poetry is that it is open to interpretation. For me, the poem with which the book shares its name, “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” is a love letter to imagination, childhood, and all things idealistic. It is about removing yourself from the rat race of life and going with the flow: “We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow, and watch where the chalk-white arrows go.” The poem is about taking a step back and visiting a place where anything is possible and “the grass grows soft and white, and there the sun burns crimson bright.”

That is the kind of imaginative writing that brings a smile to my face in these challenging times.

Alanna Warwick-Smith

About the author

Alanna Warwick-Smith is a Marketing Coordinator supporting the business development and real estate marketing team for Dart. Alanna has worked in Dart’s flagship development of Camana Bay for the past eight years, when she began her career working at the town’s bookstore, Books & Books. A lover of the written word, Alanna reads and writes poetry in her spare time, and has written content for a range of platforms in the past, including her own blog and Camana Bay Times.