Memorize a Shel Silverstein Poem

“Oh, I’m being eaten

By a boa constrictor,

A boa constrictor,

A boa constrictor,

I’m being eaten by a boa                                   constrictor,

And I don’t like it—one bit.

Well, what do you know?

It’s nibblin’ my toe.

Oh, gee,

It’s up to my knee.

Oh my,

It’s up to my thigh.

Oh, fiddle,

It’s up to my middle.

Oh, heck,

It’s up to my neck.

Oh, dread,

It’s upmmmmmmmm                                                  mmffffffffff…”


Although Valentine’s Day has passed now, it is never too late to impress the ones you love with a pretentious display of unwarranted intellect. Perhaps you have acquired a new love interest this February, and you want to show them that you are a learned individual. Have an old flame? Never a better time than the present to make them fall in love with you again through academic debate. Maybe you are still looking for your better half, a snuggle buddy. Flexing your brain muscle is the best way to get their attention.

As a childhood Shel Silverstein fanatic, his poems have always had a special place in my heart. The one displayed above from his book Where the Sidewalk Ends, aptly named “Boa Constrictor”, is most certainly my favorite. Why, I wonder, does this poem have to be only for children? Can’t we all learn from this best-selling author (and Grammy award winner)? After extensive internet research, I have found that there have been no critical analyses on the deeper meaning, the philosophical root, of “Boa Constrictor”. For this reason, (as well as its easy memorability), I believe that Silverstein’s “Boa Constrictor” is the perfect poem for love-inducing vapid academic study.

By picking a nostalgia-packed poem, it is guaranteed that your lover will appreciate your getting in touch with your softer, warmer side. You can use this as an opportunity to discuss your childhood, like how your mother would read this book to you after you wet the bed (Feel free to shed a few tears here, they will feel obligated to stay and listen to you). Next, follow the emotional beginning with a one-two punch of academic jargon and never before discovered insights. Perhaps you can sigh deeply and stare off into the distance before diving into something along the lines of “but, you know, this text makes me ruminate upon the nature of human existence. Aren’t we all getting eaten by a boa constrictor? The boa constrictor… of life”. Carry on about the passing of time, akin to the progression of this metaphorical snake. “The tragedy of this poem is that, just as the speaker is about to finish the last line, he is cut off—just as so many of us are cut off too soon in our own lives” you might proclaim. Don’t be afraid to repeat the same idea many times in just slightly different ways, so the recipient of your wooing really gets what you’re trying to say.

Let’s say you still don’t think your intellectual interpretation of “Boa Constrictor” is strong enough. Fear not! Simply add in a bunch of vocabulary! Drop phrases like anaphora (repetition of a word or words at the beginning of two or more successive verses, clauses, or sentences), apostrophe (an address to an absent or imaginary person) and litotes (understatement for rhetorical effect). It will make it seem like you know what you’re talking about, I guarantee.

Lastly, if all else fails, you can always bring up the fact that Shel Silverstein also wrote erotic plays. (It’s true!) If your extreme academic brain flexing doesn’t work, perhaps your knowledge of fun facts will. In conclusion, dear readers, go out and let Shel and I help you win the love you deserve.