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


  1. Jordan says:

    I wonder if there’s any significance to the fact that nearly every couplet has a more rational fear on the first line, and then a more illogical fear on the second line – except for the “Whatif they start a war? Whatif my parents get divorced?” and the “Whatif I tear my pants? Whatif I never learn to dance?”

  2. Hailey says:

    I think that it’s really funny and cute , and that this is a relly great poem and I’ll recomened it to my friends.

  3. Nikki says:

    This poem is really cool! im doing poetry in English and this is one poem im going to present to my class! Whatifs go threw my head ALL the time!

  4. Sarah says:

    Your Poem was ok.I t is exactly what goes on in peoples mind when the daydream.I am going to memorize this poem and perform it in front of my language Arts class.

  5. james says:

    this poem was ok but others think it was poop.

  6. Zayed says:

    Everytime I read your poem I think of what would will happen the next day.The next day I sometimes I become worried if the things I dreamed of would come true.I like all your poems especially Messy Room.The Messy Room is my favorite poem you wrote.

  7. Leon100 says:

    This is one Stupid poem!!!

  8. Sau says:

    I think this poem is exactly what goes on in the majority of people’s minds. People will always worry about the whatif’s…it’s interesting a poem so simple and basic can be so powerful as far as sending a message.I enjoyed reading it that i am choosing to do my paper on it for my lit. class. read it yo, you’ll like it. and definately relate to it.

  9. Hnery Yu says:

    Whatifs…are they real or are they just mere fragments of imagination from the truth? The truth, heck the truth is that in life, you don’t whatif this or that, you actually live out your life. Don’t whatif this or that, actually do it!! =D

  10. mallika says:

    The first time I read this poem was when I was around 6 years old. It was the first Silverstein poem I ever read. I remember this poem really sticking in my mind because I had worried about every single one of the things that was mentioned in this poem (exempt the fish not biting lol). I’m now thirteen and although I still worry I have learned not to let the “whatif’s” get to me. My philosophy is do your best, but you can’t controll everything.

  11. Catty says:

    that sounds like what i think about all of the time, i alwayz wornder if anything bad will happen to me the next day. **JESUS ROX MY SOX**

  12. Jena says:

    i think this poem tells us exactly what life is like. some nights i sit in bed thinking “what if this and what if that?” well let me tell you that doesn’t help me figure out anything. you should live life for the what is’s and what are’s. not the what if’s 🙂

  13. Dr. Dave says:

    You can always look out at your life and say whatif. You have to look at what is going on now because the past can’t be changed.

  14. John says:

    IF you always think about the whatifs, then life will be so negative and you won’t worry about anything else. The whatifs don’t even matter, unless they actually happen.

  15. MIzzChievyus says:

    Well, I think that some of everyone picks thier brain apart with the what if’s and how comes of life. The way the author says when he stops thinking everythings okay is saying to me, that we will all drive ourselves crazy thinking what could maybe happen but if we take time and step back it’s not too much for us to handle. But there will always be the ones who will fret to be fretting

  16. Vivian Figueroa says:

    I think the poem is explaining everything the poet is going through to strive in life and I myself have thought about them too. All the time I’m telling myself whatif and the poet seems be another person that has these thoughts also. It makes me feel good to know that I’m not the only one who seeks to know these answers in my life as I’m growing up from being a teen to soon being an adult. I will probably still ask myself these questions no matter what age I am.

  17. Rafi says:

    Whatif this poem wasn’t actually talking about someone who is actually thinking these things. Whatif this is someones life and all of these things happen to him and for one second everything is perfect but then everything goes back to normal and something happens bad so it’s telling us that life is full of bad occurances you just have to deal with it

  18. Raif Box says:

    I’m not much of a poem reader, but this one made me laugh.

  19. Karin Laderoute says:

    I grew up hearing from my parents. Telling me to forget whatif and think whatis! so this really hit home for me.

  20. Spencer Maughan says:

    I think that life can be like that
    Anything can happen, but don’t let the whatifs get to you.

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