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. anthony says:

    in school we are choosing a poet and we choose shel silverstein beaceuse we like how he writes by rhyming.:)

  2. ashley says:

    in school we made our own what if poem we gave shel sivlerstein cratit for making up the poem

  3. Isaak says:

    I think it’s a great poem to read and that all people should worrie about things like that.=) The reason I’m reading all of the Shel Silverstien book/poems is because in grade 5 and 6 we need to write poetry and poetry anologys for our teachers and the school board!
    It’s pretty annoying like that though…

  4. christain says:

    i love this poem cuz when i was little i always thought of whaat if
    i think that this is such a great poem for the world

  5. Al says:

    Nothing like reading a good Shel Silverstein poem to cheer you up after reading edgar allen Poe all day….

  6. Amanda says:

    I am requied to do a poerty analaysis for shel silverstein and is looking for 1 that is already been done.. got any ideas

  7. shorty says:

    it makes me feel like a kid again

  8. Mellisa says:

    this poem has a typing mistake….it’s taller..not talle….fix it please….thank you…

  9. Chelsea says:

    I think that this poem is showing us that if we only think of what could have happened we won’t see what did happen. We have to open our eyes and see what is not what if.

  10. stephanie says:

    i love this poem

  11. jennifer says:

    as the mother of a 16 year old girl and a 10 year old boy, as well as the stepmother of a 9 year old boy, it nearly brings me to tears. my husband recently lost his job and i am an unemployed nursing student. our worries suddenly seem to pale in comparison to those of our children brought to light by this work of art from an author both me & my children adore.

  12. Jules says:

    this poem can be viewed at first glance as dark and gloomy. however, this poem is about a child during the holocaust!

  13. Puree says:

    two things, first, shutup neriva,
    second this poem is very realistic. Tha watifs always have their parties right in your ear where you can sit i denile or acception of the possibilities.

  14. alyssa says:

    i really liked the poem, it reminds me of things i think about every day

  15. dan says:

    i liked it

  16. neriva says:

    hey, this is the most stupid poem that a man can do, but it’s all about reality,,,, you know, people are stupid!? so why we pretend to be smart, just be stupid and enjoy our life!?

  17. Rachel says:

    I am like a super freak and think about all this stuff every single night, even days sometimes. I like this poem, and I love Shel’s petry books also. I have a few. And read a lot. It’s a great poem. I like thed how the divorce thing and war didn’t rhyme also, they are serious (I agree from what the other people said.) And since my parents are getting a divorce that is serious to me.

  18. Taylor says:

    seriously this poem sums is up!!! this is what i go thru like every nite when im fallin asleep! its freaking amazing!

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.