i‑Learner Education Centre

Teacher Diaries

Teacher Diaries: Ms Rachel – The Poem I Love

In the poem I love, Shel Silverstein writes from the perspective of an imaginary girl who is more than a little reluctant to go to school. She is telling all of these reasons why she is unable to attend school (the measles, the mumps, and the chicken pox). She would rather stay home in bed than go to school, but then she is told that it is Saturday, and her perspective changes completely. She magically loses all of her dreadful symptoms and leaves to go out and play.

I have always enjoyed this poem as it does not only remind me of myself as a child so much but highlights the way that adults think as well. No one is ever enthusiastic to get out of their comfy beds in the morning, but it is necessary to get everything in life done. I felt that the humour of the poem could be understood very easily as the theme plays upon a very common childhood stunt. Virtually every child attempts to convince his parents that he is too sick to go to school at least once or even invents symptoms as Peggy Ann does by claiming her belly button is “caving in”.

In addition, I have chosen this poem as it has simple rhyme patterns of AABBCCDD. As you can see, each sentence rhymes to the next one as if they are in pairs (mumps and bumps, dry and eye, rocks and pox).

I am sure you will love this poem just like how I did after reading it!


by Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more– that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut– my eyes are blue–
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke–
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o- eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is– what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is…Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”