“Here I Go Down Circle Road”

Shel Silverstein


‘Here I go down circle road strong and hopeful hearted through the dust and wind up just exactly where I started.’


Shel Silverstein is one of the most beloved children’s poets to have ever lived. His books have been translated into over 30 languages, and have sold more than a whopping 20 million copies. Silverstein blames his creativity and originality on the fact that when he was growing up, he “couldn’t play ball and the girls didn’t want him.” He was therefore forced to create, and he was doing so before the age of heavily influential artists and poets. Because of this, he developed his own unique and ironic sense of humor. One of his most popular and celebrated works is The Giving Tree, which has a divisive controversy surrounding it. Some people call the book a positive, symbiotic relationship, in which the tree gives the boy selfless love. Others, however, say it is a “sadomasochistic” relationship, and isn’t healthy for younger audiences!


Poetic Technique

Concrete Poetry: poetry in which the meaning or effect is conveyed partly or wholly by visual means, using patterns of words or letters and other typographical devices.

This poem is titled “Here I Go Down Circle Road.” The poem itself takes the form of a circle at a constant rotation. This usage of concrete poetry conveys the subject of the poem, a ‘circle road’, in visual means.


One of the most heinous crimes in humanity is redundancy. It is the killer of dreams, the breaker of hearts, the hater of success. Now, the saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again” has been drilled into the heads of children for the majority of their lives. What is not understood is that you cannot simply repeat an action in the same way and expect different results. That is, in fact, a generally accepted definition of insanity.

This “circle road” is symbolic of the repetition in our daily lives. However, we are so unaware of our lack of diversity, we remain “hopeful hearted” and excited about each day. We are unable to see the errors in our ways. This blissful ignorance is so prominent in our lives we cannot even slightly perceive it. Instead of doing new things, experiencing cultures, and learning about the world around us, we sit and dwell in our failures. The problem is that we don’t know the extent of this failure.

By never doing new things, never seeing the world, never making mistakes, we never can get off the circular path. We are doomed to  a life of roundabouts. We are doomed to a singular fate. The non linear, endless path of a fully lived life is ruined by the ability of a circle to trap.

The dust that is spoken of can be a representative of many things. A block in our path, perhaps. We need to stray from the path just a little bit to overcome this obstacle. However, we will forever remain on this path if we learn nothing of the obstacle. It is our experiences and how we use their impact to affect our lives that makes us individual. This gives us wisdom, maturity, and grace. Without it, we never differentiate from the norm.




Visual Explanation

This visual is meant to portray the underlying themes of sadness, monotony, and melancholy in the poem. Despite its childish exterior, the poem is a strong portrayer of the pain and difficulty in unchanging scenery. The “road” is full of “dust,”and the sides of the road in the image show a dusty, Nevada landscape. The grey scheme of the picture instantly gives the image an air of desolation. We are really doomed to a life of grey when we cannot acknowledge the other colors.

One thought on “Concrete

  1. This entry is so powerful. I would love to be able to submit it to one of the professional organizations of which I am a member as an example of the kind of work that you and a select number of your peers are able to do. Frost would be happy to know that you have understood his “message” on such a deeply insightful level.

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