One picture puzzle piece
Lyin’ on the sidewalk,
One picture puzzle piece
Soakin’ in the rain.
It might be a button of blue
On the coat of the woman
Who lived in a shoe.
It might be a magical bean,
Or a fold in the red
Velvet robe of a queen.
It might be the one little bite
Of the apple her stepmother
Gave to Snow White.
It might be the veil of a bride
Or a bottle with some evil genie inside.
It might be a small tuft of hair
On the big bouncy belly
Of Bobo the Bear.
It might be a bit of the cloak
Of the Witch of the West
As she melted to smoke.
It might be a shadowy trace
Of a tear that runs down an angel’s face.
Nothing has more possibilities
Than one old wet picture puzzle piece.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Shel Silverstein's poem Picture Puzzle Piece


  1. anon says:

    i felt the poem is beautiful… as it simply takes you to your childhood memories with fairy tale books like the snowwhite, old woman who lived in a shoe, an angel’s love etc….. it’s not meant to be too serious…:))

  2. Cara says:

    wHAt Is WitH PeOPlE WriTInG lIKe ThIS? Really, it gets AnoYInG. But, I guess that’s the point, isn’t it?

  3. o.e. says:

    ThIs PoEm DiDn’T MaKe AnY ScEnCe At FiRsT BuT I HiT My GrOoVe

  4. o.e. says:

    this story didn’t make a lot of scence at first but I hit my groove

  5. Chris Paschal says:

    i love this poems.

  6. tt says:

    i love shel silverstien , in my opinion he is the greatest poet on the face of the earth!

    • Vijay says:

      From what i could gather, this poem is about possibilities each items–be it junk or garbage–represents. It’s like a bit of somebody–a clue.

  7. Gwendolyn says:

    It was great. I think that Shel is a really good poet. We are learning about him in school. And we are learning about poetry, too!

  8. James Smuthern says:

    poems like this aren’t exactly about what you think they are about as i read this i think that Shel was a great poet for the smaller children but he didn’t do such a good job with the adult part of his work. writing cartoons is ok i guess but in Playboy? i don’t really know about this guy. Even though io do like his children books. I will never look at a puzzle piece the same again. Of course, that is what poets are supposed to do; change the way we look at every day things

  9. Amanda says:

    This poem is really creative. I have to do a poetry project, in which I must include a poem by my poet. This poem is perfect for my project!

  10. Mrs. Brown says:

    This poem just appeared on a state standardized test for my 5th graders. I’m not sure how much they understood it, but they loved it just the same. Shel really is an icon if they chose him to appear on a test! 🙂

  11. Amy says:

    I grew up on Shel’s poetry, but somehow I’ve only come to fully appreciate his work as an adult. This poem and many others let me escape back to a time when life was simple and you memorized a poem because it was silly and it made you laugh. I love this poem!!

  12. Kim says:

    Love, love, this man…I grew up with his poetry books, he has a way of unlocking the imagination

  13. AgeAintNothingButANumber says:

    Shel alwayz addz a little fun in everything he writes no wonder he waz a great success.

  14. Cassandra Franklin says:

    what a gem!!i must have read this poem 10x straight. i love shel silverstein, I wish id found him earilier. by far my favorite poem.

  15. Raquel says:

    Reading this poem shines a light on literature. There are many ways of interpreting a piece of literature and Silverstein illuminates this idea through his poem. A great loss when he died, hope his work continues to brighten our children and our future!

  16. SaMaNtHa says:

    I rEaLlY lIkE tHiS pOeM. i HaVe To Do A sChOoL pRoDjEcT aNd IlLuStRaTe A pIcTuRe. ThIs pOeM gIvEs Me MaNy IdEaS i CaN dO fOr ThE iLlUsTaTiOn. ThIs PoEm A vErY gOoD pOeM!!

  17. lauren says:

    This poem didnt really make sense to me at first because I just kind of glanced at it. Once I used TPCASTT, I really enjoyed the poem and thought the message was a good one!

  18. Shirley says:

    I will never look at a puzzle piece the same again. Of course, that is what poets are supposed to do; change the way we look at every day things

  19. Beth says:

    this is one of my favorite poems, i think that there is a lot of beauty in it. i related to this poem when i was little because it gave me hope in finding magic and wonder everywhere i looked. this poem also tends to make me feel almost sad and lonely, though it’s in a nice sort of way.

  20. haley says:

    it is very cute

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.