By Michelle Werts
I was feeling a bit whimsical the other night, so in honor of National Poetry Month I pulled out my old copies of The Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, immersing myself in the lyrical, satirical world of Shel’s creation. All of the funny bits were still there: the boa’s eating people, kids not taking the garbage out, all of the poems that uniquely required the hand-drawn illustration to grasp the meaning. But I also discovered the poems on a whole new level than I had before — having not read them in more than a decade. Shel wasn’t just writing wacky, silly poems for kids; he was saying things that are just as relevant today as they were 30 years ago. I could share dozens with you, but I’ll limit myself to just two, hoping they touch you as they touched me.
Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly
in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers….
How did it go?
How did it go?
The saddest thing I ever did see
Was a woodpecker peckin’ at a plastic tree.
He looks at me, and “Friend,” says he,
“Things ain’t as sweet as they used to be.”
Take a moment today, during Earth Month, to remember the language of nature. Take a moment to bask in the loveliness of the world. Take a moment to be thankful for the diverse sounds, colors and species that surround us. And, if you’re inclined, take a moment to help us protect the natural world we sometimes take for granted.