It's just poetry, it won't bite

Happy Birthday Shel Silverstein!


09.26.09 Posted in Birthdays, today's words by

It’s
September 25, and you know what that means: Happy Birthday Shel
Silverstein! Alright, so, who was Shel? Sure, he was quirky, with his
signature bald head and iconic beard. Sure, he wrote The Giving Tree
and A Light in the Attic. But did you know his writing and art appeared
in Playboy? Did you know he wrote a lot of songs about getting high and
a whole host of country music for which he was inducted into the
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame three years after his death? Did you
know he won a Grammy for a song made famous by Johnny Cash: “A Boy
Named Sue”? True story! In honor of what would have been Shel
Silverstein’s 79th birthday, in this the tenth year since his death,
let’s remember him with another song of his made famous by its cover
act. Sing along in your head or with your iPod (cause I just know you
all have this one on at least one playlist) to The Unicorn Song, Irish
Rovers rendition. Haven’t we all gotten choked up at the end of this
one? More curiously, how pissed off at Noah do you think God was for
killing off His favorites, the unicorns? Do you love the way Noah tries
to pin it on the unicorns? Seriously, could God have been any clearer
with His directions? Thank you, Shel Silverstein, for this lovely song
and the speculative path it sends us down. You are missed.

The Unicorn Song
(Music and lyrics written by Shel Silverstein, as recorded by The Irish Rovers, 1968)

A long time ago when the earth was green
There were more kinds of animals than you’ve ever seen
They’d run around free while the world was being born
But the loveliest of them all was the unicorn.

There were
Green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born
The loveliest of all was the unicorn.

Now the Lord saw some sinning, and it game him pain
And he said, “Stand back, I’m gonna make it rain”
He said, “Hey brother Noah, I’ll tell you what to do
Build me a floating zoo

And take some of them
Green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born
Don’t you forget my unicorn.”

Old Noah was there to answer the call
He finished up making the ark just as the rain started to fall
He marched in the animals two by two
And he called out as they went through

“Hey Lord, I got your
Green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but Lord I’m so forlorn,
I just can’t see no unicorns.”

Then Noah looked out through the driving rain
The unicorns were hiding, playing silly games
Kicking and splashing while the rain was pouring
Oh them silly unicorns!

There were green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees
Noah cried, “Close the door, for the rain is pouring
And we just can’t wait for no unicorns.”

The ark started moving, it drifted with the tide
The unicorns looked up from the rocks and they cried
And the waters came down and started floating them away
That’s why you never seen a unicorn to this very day.

You’ll see
Green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born
You’re never gonna see no unicorns.



One Response to “Happy Birthday Shel Silverstein!”

  1. Jean says:

    Ohhh! I knew only the chorus. I had no idea what happend to the unicorns.:-(

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,844 other subscribers

Latest Podcast Episode
0:00
0:00
vox poetica archives
%d bloggers like this: