Humorous Poems

The master was Shel Silverstein. I liked Johnny Cash's rendition.

A Boy Named Sue by Shel Silverstein
Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
and he didn't leave much to Ma and me,
just this old guitar and a bottle of booze.
Now I don't blame him because he run and hid,
but the meanest thing that he ever did was
before he left he went and named me Sue.

Well, he must have thought it was quite a joke,
and it got lots of laughs from a lot of folks,
it seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
and some guy would laugh and I'd bust his head,
I tell you, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue.

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean.
My fist got hard and my wits got keen.
Roamed from town to town to hide my shame,
but I made me a vow to the moon and the stars,
I'd search the honky tonks and bars and kill
that man that gave me that awful name.

But it was Gatlinburg in mid July and I had
just hit town and my throat was dry.
I'd thought i'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon in a street of mud
and at a table dealing stud sat the dirty,
mangy dog that named me Sue.

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
from a worn-out picture that my mother had
and I knew the scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old
and I looked at him and my blood ran cold,
and I said, "My name is Sue. How do you do?
Now you're gonna die." Yeah, that's what I told him.

Well, I hit him right between the eyes and he went down
but to my surprise he came up with a knife
and cut off a piece of my ear. But I busted a chair
right across his teeth. And we crashed through
the wall and into the street kicking and a-gouging
in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell you I've fought tougher men but I really can't remember when.
He kicked like a mule and bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laughin' and then I heard him cussin',
he went for his gun and I pulled mine first.
He stood there looking at me and I saw him smile.

And he said, "Son, this world is rough and if
a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
and I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along.
So I gave you that name and I said 'Goodbye'.
I knew you'd have to get tough or die. And it's
that name that helped to make you strong."

Yeah, he said, "Now you have just fought one
helluva fight, and I know you hate me and you've
got the right to kill me now and I wouldn't blame you
if you do. But you ought to thank me
before I die for the gravel in your guts and the spit
in your eye because I'm the nut that named you Sue."
Yeah, what could I do? What could I do?

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun,
called him pa and he called me a son,
and I came away with a different point of view
and I think about him now and then.
Every time I tried, every time I win and if I
ever have a son I think I am gonna name him
Bill or George - anything but Sue.


  1. Replies
    1. I have good memories of laughing to this song.

  2. haha read that one a few times. Cash sure had fun with it.

  3. I did not realize this was written by Shel Silverstein, slways thought it was Johnny Cash. Cute poem and song.


    1. Silverstein wrote many country music songs. He wrote "Ones on the way" by Loretta Lynn.

  4. Oh, but what a cruel way to learn a life lesson.

    1. So true. Life is full of cruel lessons.

  5. Replies
    1. It is surprising that this Jewish guy from up North could write so many country ballads. Just goes to show we got a strong effect on one another in this country.

  6. Sure didn't know Silverstein wrote this--I was only familiar with his book Where the Sidewalk Ends. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm a big Silverstein fan. Children loved his poems at school.

  7. I didn't know who the songwriter was, until now. Thanks for the info. I always enjoyed listening to Johnny Cash sing this. He put perfect inflections on the lyrics. :)

    Have a good weekend!

    1. It does. Silverstein was so creative and funny.

  8. I still laugh when I hear that song! I was always secretly glad he was so macho;-)Leave it to Silverstein to point out how cruel a parent's joke can be, but I did not know he wrote the song! Thanks so much for sharing:-)

    1. It is just good honest humor for sure.

  9. Johnny Cash was so cool! I love most of his songs.

    I'm visiting from the A to Z Challenge.

    Shelly @

    1. I am a big fan of Johnny Cash's work.

  10. J here, of the #atozchallenge Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassador Team.
    How has the first week of the challenge been for you so far? Are you meeting your goals of posting and hopping to other blogs? Looking forward to Sunday off?
    My blog's giveaways are still going! I'm encouraging everyone to visit more stops.
    I love Shel's works.

    1. Thanks for visiting J Lenni Dorner. Your giveaways are very generous.

  11. Hank is all for humor in songs or poems. Remembered very well this song. But it has to be JCash to sing it. Thanks Ann!


  12. Along with the other commenters, I did not know it was a Shel Silverstein poem either. I am a fan of all things Johnny Cash,too.

  13. love love love johnny cash!!!

  14. Oh, the musical memories.
    Met him and his wife, June, once (many years ago). Really authentic people.

    Visiting from the A-Z Challenge. I'm doing it with seven of my blogs this year.

    Here are a few of them:
    Heart of a Ready Writer
    Kicking MS to the Curb
    Working in Words
    Fad to the Bone – Dog Products Revue

    Happy A-Z!


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