Our community has a long and dangerous stretch of road that the kids need to walk on to get to school. After years of letter writing and pleading, our regional government decided to build the sidewalk. Much to our disappointment, they left a huge gap in the sidewalk so that the kids still have to walk on the road next to the cars and trucks driving by. This situation reminded me of one of my favorite poems by Shel Silverstein. The poem is imagination, our sidewalk is real. Does art imitate life? Or vice versa?
A poem by Shel Silverstein
Words in brackets written by Devora Mason
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins, (Zeit Shemen)
And there the grass grows soft and white, (not really)
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight (or the pigeons who poop on our heads)
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black (cheftzibah construction site?)
And the dark street winds and bends. (Pitum Haktoret)
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow (definitely our new traffic circle)
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow (much to the chagrin of meuchedet)
And watch where the chalk white arrows go (probably to nowhere)
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes, we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk white arrows go,
For the children they mark, and the children they know (crossing guards?)
The place where the sidewalk ends.