Where The Sidewalk Ends
I’ll sing you a poem of a silly young kingWho played with the world at the end of a string,But he only loved one single thing—And that was just a peanut-butter sandwich.
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His scepter and his royal gowns,His regal throne and golden crownsWere brown and sticky from the moundsAnd drippings from each peanut-butter sandwich.
His subjects all were silly foolsFor he had passed a royal ruleThat all that they could learn in schoolWas how to make a peanut-butter sandwich.
He would not eat his sovereign steak,He scorned his soup and kingly cake,And told his courtly cook to bakeAn extra-sticky peanut-butter sandwich.
And then one day he took a biteAnd started chewing with delight,But found his mouth was stuck quite tightFrom that last bite of peanut-butter sandwich.
His brother pulled, his sister pried,The wizard pushed, his mother cried,“My boy’s committed suicideFrom eating his last peanut-butter sandwich!”
The dentist came, and the royal doc.The royal plumber banged and knocked,But still those jaws stayed tightly locked.Oh darn that sticky peanut-butter sandwich!
The carpenter, he tried with pliers,The telephone man tried with wires,The firemen, they tried with fire,But couldn’t melt that peanut-butter sandwich.
With ropes and pulleys, drills and coil,With steam and lubricating oil—For twenty years of tears and toil—They fought that awful peanut-butter sandwich.
Then all his royal subjects came.They hooked his jaws with grapplin’ chainsAnd pulled both ways with might and mainAgainst that stubborn peanut-butter sandwich.
Each man and woman, girl and boyPut down their ploughs and pots and toysAnd pulled until kerack! Oh, joy—They broke right through that peanut-butter sandwich
A puff of dust, a screech, a squeak—The king’s jaw opened with a creak.And then in voice so faint and weak—The first words that they heard him speakWere, “How about a peanut-butter sandwich?”
This is an old poem from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. Silverstein and his poems will always have a special place in my heart, because I used to be read his poems as bedtime stories when I was little, and I always asked for them because they were my favorite. I think this particular poem ties in to one of my capstone questions about humans and panoramic ideas. The poem tells about a king who has a certain habit that makes him fall in a disposition, and even when he is freed from his problem he still wants to go back to that same old habit. This could be compared to, say, the environment. Humanity as a species has a bad habit of polluting the air, water and soil with smog, gasses, trash, chemicals and oil. And there will be a point somewhere in the future where we will run into a big problem because of our bad habit, and it will take a lot of work and will be very difficult to get out of the situation and/or to fix. Even after that, there are still people out there that will still have those same old habits that got us in trouble in the first place. That brings up a question; what would it take for us to start making panoramic measures to slow or stop the pollution of our planet? There are doomsayers out there, normally well learned scientists, that say we need to start making drastic changes right now to keep our planet healthy for future generations down the line. We know our shortcomings as a species, but our overwhelming strengths of ingenuity and problem solving will keep us here, and I believe, will get us out of the hole that we are all to happy to keep digging below our feet.