Books that haunt us? Yeah, who didn’t grow up browsing the poems of Shel Silverstein? Go ahead, raise your hand…So that I can rap a ruler across the back of your knuckles!
I recently found a (used) hardback 30th anniversary edition at the thrift store. Oh, gosh these images, these puns. They’re still funny, even read as an adult, and of course, there’s an additional thirty years’ of language and reading appreciation that goes in to an adult read.
Remember the one about the boa constrictor eating the dude? or the monster under the bed who ate the dad who didn’t believe in the monster under the bed? Or the poem written on the neck of the running giraffe?
Some of these poems definitely ping a high score on the creepy-o-meter. Silverstein’s creepy humor works when we discover that the speaker of the poem is actively engaged in the current actions of the poem, or when–suddenly–the reader of the poem realizes that they (2nd person, “you”) are the object of the action.