Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Shel Silverstein's poem Whatif

58 Comments

  1. Deanna says:

    it is a wondeerful poem

  2. Sara says:

    This poem is like true… happens to me every night…and i like how some parts of the poem are silly and get serious i also like how war and divorced are stuck out and dont ryme i think the reson for this is because those are 2 serious things kids think of…i think this poem is great and i sent it to everyone i could think of i recomend this poem for anyone!!!

  3. Xavier says:

    Wow, I do the same exact thing at night. And I thought I was the only one who did that. I hate those stupid whatifs. Ecspecially on plane rides. Thank you for writing this.

  4. Afzal says:

    Wow! This is exactly what happens to me when I hit the bed! I, being the poetically-challenged person I am, thank you, Shel Silverstein, for writing something which I can really relate to. 🙂

  5. Shannon says:

    I love all of Shel Silverstein’s poems. They all have such a unique twist to them, I am doing a report on him for one of my classes…I love learning even MORE about him! Anyway, the poem is great and it has a great subject and purpose.

  6. Khadija Sharawy says:

    I suggest that this poem is very nice but I really think if you want to make your poem rhyme that’s no problem but it has to make sense most of it doesn’t and the best way to make your poem have sense don’t letit rhyme !

  7. kathleen says:

    i like all of shel’s poems a like but seeing as i am 13 i like this poem the best because it explains most of the other kids but not me

  8. Julia says:

    I love this poem! It is my all time new favorite poem!! It is so cute!!

  9. Amanda says:

    i totally love this poem because no matter what there will always be the “what ifs” no matter where you are school, home, work, or just with your friends my strategy is to take one day at a time one activity at a time and dont pay attention to what people have to say or if they dont like you who cares someone else will.

  10. Dana says:

    this poem is gnarley! Whatif i fail the 9th grade, whatif my boyfriend dumps me? crzy

  11. ELIZABETH says:

    THIS IS A GREAT POEM. I LOVE IT. WHEN I READ IT THE FIRST TIME I LIKED IT SO MUCH THAT I HAD TO READ IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN. IT MAKES YOU THINK ABOUT ALL THE WHATIFS THAT WE GO THRU EVERYDAY. EXCELLENT POEM.

  12. AILEN BATUCAN says:

    ANG GANDA!! WALA AQNG MASABI….NKKREL8 TALAGA AQ. I LOVE SHEL SILVERSTEIN…

  13. Martin Siegel says:

    The greatest fears of a child in school
    You do not forget these things easily
    Lucky the one who is able to pack them in a witty poem.

    Martin

  14. Anne says:

    This is a really great poem. Our life is also full many whatifs and if we could just get the answers of our whatifs then i think we would come across the real beauty of this world n our own life n this will also help us in overcoming our desires.Aristotle once quoted

    I COUNT HIM BRAVER WHO OVERCOMES HIS DESIRES THEN HE WHO OVERCOMES HIS ENEMIES.

  15. katie says:

    I think the one of the strongest points of this poem is that everyone can relate to it. I have gotten crazy with what-ifs, they are very persistent, and they have ruined many a night, day, and even longer periods for me. But their little song and dance is nonsense. We could all what-if ourselves into the grave. Somebody on here said her parents taught her to focus on what IS instead of what IF. That is good advice, very smart parents.

  16. giovanni says:

    I like this poem i feel like means that if u do have alot of whatifs in your life dont worry about them until thy pop up. EX:Everything seems well and then the nighttime whatifs strike again. I chose this poem 4 a project of mine because it is that good!!!!!!!!

  17. dave says:

    well it`s all what if these days

    whatif, i never went to school
    it dont mean im dumb.

    whatif, i dont go to college
    does it mean i wont learn anything.

    the wold these days are all about whatif.

    whatif, i like this peom.

    dave, essex, united kingdom

  18. Debbie Dodson says:

    My daughter just read this poem at school, along with a poem that she had written. She lost this particular poem after the poem readings were done, she was very upset. She loved this poem, in sixth grade her life is full of Whatifs… how appropriate. I was glad to find it and plan to get the book for her.

  19. Peter says:

    The couplet about divorce and war seem very threatening and possible. The fears do not fit somehow – Is this a device to draw attention to them? or is the poet inviting personal revisions:

    Whatif I should end up poor?
    Whatif I were held by force?

    Interesting exercise? Why not try it?

  20. Chimney says:

    I have been studying poems in my English class. To tell the truth, most of the poems we have studied have been very depressing, dark, and gloomy. When asked to select a poem to read to the class, I wanted something upbeat. This poem was perfect! It showed that you can still worry and go through life but not be depressing about it. With the added humorous lines, the poem became fun. I was glad to have found it.

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