Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Shel Silverstein's poem The Little Boy and the Old Man


  1. […] LINKS:The Little Boy and the Old Man by Shel Silverstein – Meaning, Themes, Analysis and Literary De…Simone de Beauvoir recommends we fight for ourselves as we age | Psyche IdeasComing of age: A limited future and a frozen past—such is the situation – The New York TimesUse-value vs. exchange-value: Definition: CommodityKliban by B. Kliban for October 12, 2018 – GoComicsInvisible Man by Ralph EllisonInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison Plot Summary | LitChartsThe Rum Diary: The Long Lost Novel Summary & Study Guide […]

  2. Maddy says:

    Dear Shel, this is the most amazing poem i have ever read. it really captures how much we ignore the elderly and children. Please write back to me, your biggest fan, Maddy xxx

  3. briona jones says:

    i love this poem its funny and sad but most of all it is sweet..ect

  4. savannna says:

    i think that this poem is so sweet
    and it like tells you that kids and adults arnt very differint at all

  5. Heather says:

    I love this poem! And I love it because it points out something so blaringly evident in American culture. We treat and ignore the elderly just as we do children. Even though the old men and women in this world have experienced decades upon decades more than the middle aged people who control their lives. We do not draw upon their wisdom or experience; we ignore it and act as if they have none, because they drop spoons and wet themselves.

  6. Aki Kaze says:

    I love this poem. It’s so heartfelt, that the little old man understands him. It means that young people’s problems aren’t always as little as they seem. The little old man knows that only all too well. I love it!

  7. Alexus says:

    this poem is original and fun

  8. Ben says:

    The poem is about the progression of the man. How we all start as a little baby that needs to be taken care of, and how being old isn’t much of a blessing either because we fall back into a spirl of slowly regressing, just as children progress. So everyone please studat hard, learn well, live, and enjoy the time you have, you might always have these opportunities.

  9. bob alex says:

    good. I feel that way too.

  10. Kerry says:

    this poem is very good.It learns someone a lesson.i wanted to say hi to Shel Sliverstein. SO HI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Ana says:

    I think thatthe poem says that we are so similar to different age groups and I think that most importantly we should treat our elders with respect because we don’t know how long they will be here. It is sad the way people treat others now a days. We should treat others the way we want to be treated. God Bless!!

  12. Anna says:

    This poem is so real. If your still in elementray school, well atleast at mine, there’s always atleast one kid who omost never fits in or is left out all the time.

  13. Sara says:

    This has always been my favorite poem! It is very sweetly written and very true! The old are wise, and the young have more knowledge than we give them credit. Never underestimate them because they can teach us more than you think. Dont ignore either one because they are human beings too!

  14. Trevor Hunter says:


    • Sharon Rust says:

      How absolutely sickening of a comment. I pray you never grow old and in need of someone to take care of you.
      May you always have the strength, energy and coherence to pick up your own spoon when you drop it.
      May you always be able to change your own “Depends” when the day comes that you need to wear them.
      May any caregivers you may need treat you with dignity … even when you DO NOT DESERVE it!

  15. Angela says:

    This poem made me tear the first time I read it. It is very sad but very true. It makes you wonder what will become of you when you get older? Will anyone care?

  16. shiba says:

    i liked this poem its cool man
    i like your face ALOT!!! ( :
    call me

  17. Kelsey says:

    that is so super sweet, I just

  18. Clint Hargrove says:

    I know the feelings well. I am raising my grandson. Have done so since he was 28 days old and each day he shows me the love he can give to many. God Bless the children.

  19. shell says:

    This poem made me think of my own father whom i haven’t spoke to in a very long time i will call him tonight thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Shel Silverstein better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.