In Shel Silverstein's poem, "Sing Me a Rainbow", what is the theme?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The poem and song “Sing Me a Rainbow” is about a man who has lost his way and longs for better days.  He feels as if he has sold out, and wants to feel better about himself.  He looks to Josie to help him, asking her to “sing” him a rainbow.

Remember that theme is the message of the poem.  In this case, the speaker is sad about the way things turned out in his life.

Down the road to where it's at I must have lost my way
When I got there they said I was too late
Now you're the only one can get me straight (stanza 1)

By saying he has “lost [his] way,” the speaker focuses on things in his life he wishes he has done differently.  He is now returning to an earlier phase in his life, to Joise, hoping to set things right.  He was “too late” and did not accomplish what he set out to because he got distracted along the way.  The speaker uses metaphors like singing a rainbow and “they said I was too late” (line 3) to strike a chord of sympathy and emotion in the reader.

The theme of regret shines through this poem, but so does the idea of redemption.  Whatever happened, the speaker seems to think that things will be better even though they have been “wrong for oh so long” (line 14).  In Joise, the speaker can make a new life and return to his roots.

"Song Lyrics : Sing Me A Rainbow (Shel Silverstein)." Risa. Web. 03 May 2012. <http://www.risa.co.uk/sla/song.php?songid=16184>.

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