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Ogden Nash
Born August 19, 1902(1902-08-19)
Rye, New York
Died May 19, 1971 (aged 68)
Baltimore, Maryland
Occupation Poet, author, lyric-writer
Parents Edmund and Mattie

Frederic Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971) was an American poet well known for his light verse. At the time of his death in 1971, the New York Times said his "droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country's best-known producer of humorous poetry".[1]

Contents

Biography

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Early life

Nash was born in Rye, New York. His father owned and operated an import-export company, and because of business obligations, the family relocated often.

After graduating from St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island, Nash entered Harvard University in 1920, only to drop out a year later. He returned to St. George's to teach for a year and left to work his way through a series of other jobs, eventually landing a position as an editor at Doubleday publishing house, where he first began to write poetry.

Nash moved to Baltimore, Maryland, three years after marrying Frances Leonard, a Baltimore native. He lived in Baltimore from 1934 and most of his life until his death in 1971. Nash thought of Baltimore as home. After his return from a brief move to New York, he wrote "I could have loved New York had I not loved Balti-more."

His first job in New York was as a writer of the streetcar card ads for a company that previously had employed another Baltimore resident, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Nash loved to rhyme. "I think in terms of rhyme, and have since I was six years old," he stated in a 1958 news interview.[2] He had a fondness for crafting his own words whenever rhyming words did not exist, though admitting that crafting rhymes was not always the easiest task.[2]

In 1931 he published his first collection of poems, Hard Lines, earning him national recognition. Some of his poems reflected an anti-establishment feeling. For example, one verse, entitled Common Sense, asks:

Why did the Lord give us agility,
If not to evade responsibility?

Writing career

When Nash wasn't writing poems, he made guest appearances on comedy and radio shows and toured the United States and England, giving lectures at colleges and universities.

Nash was regarded respectfully by the literary establishment, and his poems were frequently anthologized even in serious collections such as Selden Rodman's 1946 A New Anthology of Modern Poetry.

Nash was the lyricist for the Broadway musical One Touch of Venus, collaborating with librettist S. J. Perelman and composer Kurt Weill. The show included the notable song "Speak Low." He also wrote the lyrics for the 1952 revue Two's Company.

Nash and his love of the Baltimore Colts were featured in the December 13, 1968 issue of Life,[3] with several poems about the American football team matched to full-page pictures. Entitled "My Colts, verses and reverses," the issue includes his poems and photographs by Arthur Rickerby. "Mr. Nash, the league leading writer of light verse (Averaging better than 6.3 lines per carry), lives in Baltimore and loves the Colts" it declares. The comments further describe Nash as "a fanatic of the Baltimore Colts, and a gentleman." Featured on the magazine cover is defensive player Dennis Gaubatz, number 53, in midair pursuit with this description: "That is he, looming 10 feet tall or taller above the Steelers' signal caller...Since Gaubatz acts like this on Sunday, I'll do my quarterbacking Monday." Memorable Colts Jimmy Orr, Billy Ray Smith, Bubba Smith, Willie Richardson, Dick Szymanski and Lou Michaels contribute to the poetry.

Among his most popular writings were a series of animal verses, many of which featured his off-kilter rhyming devices. Examples include "If called by a panther / Don't anther"; "Who wants my jellyfish? / I'm not sellyfish!"; and "The Lord in His wisdom made the fly / And then forgot to tell us why." This is his ode to the llama:

The one-L lama,
He's a priest.
The two-L llama,
He's a beast.
And I would bet
A silk pajama
There isn't any
Three-L lllama.

(Nash appended a footnote to this poem: "The author's attention has been called to a type of conflagration known as a three-alarmer. Pooh."[4])

Death and subsequent events

Nash died of Crohn's disease at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on May 19, 1971.[1] He is interred in North Hampton, New Hampshire's East Side Cemetery. His daughter Isabel was married to noted photographer Fred Eberstadt, and his granddaughter, Fernanda Eberstadt, is an acclaimed author.

A biography, Ogden Nash: the Life and Work of America's Laureate of Light Verse, was written by Douglas M. Parker, published in 2005 and in paperback in 2007. The book was written with the cooperation of the Nash family and quotes extensively from Nash's personal correspondence as well as his poetry.

Poetic style

Nash was best known for surprising, pun-like rhymes, sometimes with words deliberately misspelled for comic effect, as in his retort to Dorothy Parker's humorous dictum, Men seldom make passes/At girls who wear glasses:

A girl who is bespectacled
She may not get her nectacled
But safety pins and bassinets
Await the girl who fassinets.

He often wrote in an exaggerated verse form with pairs of lines that rhyme, but are of dissimilar length and irregular meter.

The critic Morris Bishop, when reviewing Nash's 1962 Everyone But Thee and Me, offered up this lyrical commentary on Nash's style:

Free from flashiness, free from trashiness
Is the essence of ogdenashiness.
Rich, original, rash and rational
Stands the monument ogdenational![5]

Nash's poetry was often a playful twist of an old saying or poem. He expressed this playfulness in what is perhaps his most famous rhyme. Nash observed the following in a turn of Joyce Kilmer's words "I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree."

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.[6]

Similarly, in Reflections on Ice-Breaking he wrote:

Candy
Is dandy
But liquor
Is quicker.

He also commented:

I often wonder which is mine:
Tolerance, or a rubber spine?

His one-line observations are often quoted.

People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up.
Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.

Other poems

Nash was a baseball fan, and he wrote a poem titled "Line-Up for Yesterday," an alphabetical poem listing baseball immortals.[7] Published in Sport magazine in January 1949, the poem pays tribute to the baseball greats and to his own fanaticism, in alphabetical order. Here is a sampling from his A to Z list:[8]

C is for Cobb, Who grew spikes and not corn, And made all the basemen Wish they weren't born.
D is for Dean, The grammatical Diz, When they asked, Who's the tops? Said correctly, I is.
E is for Evers, His jaw in advance; Never afraid To Tinker with Chance.
F is for Fordham And Frankie and Frisch; I wish he were back With the Giants, I wish.
G is for Gehrig, The Pride of the Stadium; His record pure gold, His courage, pure radium.
H is for Hornsby; When pitching to Rog, The pitcher would pitch, Then the pitcher would dodge.
I is for Me, Not a hard-hitting man, But an outstanding all-time Incurable fan.'
Q is for Don Quixote Cornelius Mack; Neither Yankees nor years can halt his attack.

Nash wrote about the famous baseball players of his day, but he particularly loved Baltimore sports.

Nash wrote humorous poems for each movement of the Camille Saint-Saëns orchestral suite The Carnival of the Animals, which are often recited when the work is performed.

Ogden Nash stamp

The US Postal Service released a stamp featuring Ogden Nash and six of his poems on the centennial of his birth on 19 August 2002. The six poems are "The Turtle," "The Cow," "Crossing The Border," "The Kitten," "The Camel" and "Limerick One." It was the first stamp in the history of the USPS to include the word "sex," although as a synonym for gender. It can be found under the "O" and is part of "The Turtle". The stamp is the 18th in the Literary Arts section. Four years later, the first issue took place in Baltimore on August 19th. The ceremony was held at the home that he and his wife Frances shared with his parents on 4300 Rugby Road, where he did most of his writing.

Bibliography

  • Candy is Dandy by Ogden Nash, Anthony Burgess, Linell Smith, and Isabel Eberstadt. Carlton Books Ltd, 1994. ISBN 0-233-98892-0
  • Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight by Ogden Nash and Lynn Munsinger. Little, Brown Young Readers, 1999. ISBN 0-316-59905-0
  • I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Ogden Nash. Buccaneer Books, 1994. ISBN 1-56849-468-8
  • The Old Dog Barks Backwards by Ogden Nash. Little Brown & Co, 1972. ISBN 0-316-59804-6
  • Ogden Nash's Zoo by Ogden Nash and Etienne Delessert. Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, 1986. ISBN 0-941434-95-8
  • Pocket Book of Ogden Nash by Ogden Nash. Pocket, 1990. ISBN 0-671-72789-3
  • Selected Poetry of Ogden Nash by Ogden Nash. Black Dog & Levanthal Publishing, 1995. ISBN 1884822308
  • The Tale of the Custard Dragon by Ogden Nash and Lynn Munsinger. Little, Brown Young Readers, 1998. ISBN 0-316-59031-2
  • Bed Riddance by Ogden Nash. Little Brown & Co, 1969. ASIN B000EGGXD8
  • "Versus" by Ogden Nash. Little, Brown, & Co, 1949.
  • "The Face is Familiar: The Selected Verse of Ogden Nash" by Ogden Nash. Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., 1941.
  • There's Always Another Windmill by Ogden Nash. Little Brown & Co, 1968. ISBN 0-316-59839-9
  • Private Dining Room by Ogden Nash. Little Brown & Co, 1952. ASIN B000H1Z8U4
  • Many Long Years Ago by Ogden Nash. Little Brown & Co, 1945. ISBN B000OELG1O

Individual poems

References

  1. ^ a b Albin Krebs (1971-05-20). "Ogden Nash, Master of Light Verse, Dies". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0613FC3954127B93C2AB178ED85F458785F9. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  2. ^ a b Hal Boyle (1958-12-01). "Ogden Nash Finds Light Verse Doesn't Flow Easy" (Reprint). Prescott Evening Courier. Associated Press. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zu0KAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3U8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6654,1365475. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  3. ^ Nash, Ogden (1968-12-13). "My Colts, verses and reverses" ( – Scholar search). Life. http://www.life.com/Life/cover_search/view?coverkeyword=&startMonth=12&startYear=1968&endMonth=12&endYear=1968&pageNumber=1&indexNumber=1. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  4. ^ "[minstrels] The Lama - Ogden Nash"]. http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/1080.html. 
  5. ^ Fraser, C. Gerald, "New & Noteworthy," The New York Times, July 7, 1985. Viewed Sept. 6, 2007.
  6. ^ Nash, Ogden, "Song of the Open Road, The Face Is Familiar (Garden City Publishing, 1941), p. 21.
  7. ^ Tim Wiles (1996-03-31). "Who's on Verse?". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/specials/baseball/bbo-baseball-preview-poetry.html. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  8. ^ "Baseball Almanac". http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_line.shtml. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

How are we to survive? Solemnity is not the answer, any more than witless and irresponsible frivolity is. I think our best chance lies in humor, which in this case means a wry acceptance of our predicament. We don't have to like it but we can at least recognize its ridiculous aspects, one of which is ourselves.

Ogden Nash (19 August 190219 May 1971) was an American poet.

Contents

Sourced

  • Candy
    Is Dandy
    But liquor
    Is quicker.
    • "Reflections on Ice-Breaking" in Hard Lines (1931); this statement is often misattributed to Dorothy Parker.
  • Man is a victim of dope
    In the incurable form of hope.
    • "Good-by, Old Year, You Oaf or Why Don't They Pay the Bonus?" in The Primrose Path (1935)
  • Every New Year is the direct descendant, isn't it, of a long line of proven criminals?
    • "Good-by, Old Year, You Oaf or Why Don't They Pay the Bonus?" in The Primrose Path (1935)
  • Just when you think that at least the outlook is so black that it can grow no blacker, it worsens,
    And that is why I do not like the news, because there has never been an era when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons.
    • "Everybody Tells Me Everything" in The Face Is Familiar (1940)
A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.
  • A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.
    • "A Dog's Best Friend Is His Illiteracy" in The Private Dining Room (1953)
    • Paraphrased variant: A door is that which a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.
  • I dreamt that my hair was kempt.
    Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it.
    • "My Dream" in You Can't Get There from Here (1957)
  • It is common knowledge to every schoolboy and even every Bachelor of Arts,
    That all sin is divided into two parts.
    One kind of sin is called a sin of commission, and that is very important
    And it is what you are doing when you are doing something you ortant...
    • "Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man" in The Family Album of Favorite Poems (1959) edited by P. Edward Ernest.
  • It is the sin of omission, the second kind of sin,
    That lays eggs under your skin.
    • "Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man" (1959)
  • The moral is that it is probably better not to sin at all, but if
    some kind of sin you must be pursuing,
    Well, remember to do it by doing rather than by not doing.
    • "Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man" (1959)
  • To keep your marriage brimming,
    With love in the loving cup,
    Whenever you're wrong, admit it;
    Whenever you're right, shut up.
    • "A Word to Husbands" in Marriage Lines (1964)
  • Good wine needs no bush,
    And perhaps products that people really want need no
    hard-sell or soft-sell TV push.
    Why not?
    Look at pot.
    • "Most Doctors Recommend or Yours For Fast Fast Fast Relief" in The Old Dog Barks Backwards (1972)
  • Among other things I think humor is a shield, a weapon, a survival kit... So here we are several billion of us, crowded into our global concentration camp for the duration. How are we to survive? Solemnity is not the answer, any more than witless and irresponsible frivolity is. I think our best chance lies in humor, which in this case means a wry acceptance of our predicament. We don't have to like it but we can at least recognize its ridiculous aspects, one of which is ourselves.
    • Commencement address at his daughter Linell's boarding school, as quoted in The Washington Post (8 May 2005)
  • Abracadabra, thus we learn,
    The more you create, the less you earn.

    The less you earn, the more you're given,
    The less you lead, the more you're driven,
    The more destroyed, the more they feed,
    The more you pay, the more they need
    The more you earn, the less you keep,
    And now I lay me down to sleep.
    I pray the Lord my soul should take
    If the tax collector hasn't got it before I wake.
  • Oh, what a tangled web do parents weave
    When they think that their children are naive.
    • "Baby, What Makes the Sky Blue?"
  • Behold the hippopotamus!
    We laugh at how he looks to us,
    And yet in moments dank and grim,
    I wonder how we look to him.
  • Any hound a porcupine nudges
    Can't be blamed for harboring grudges.
    I know one hound that laughed all winter
    At a porcupine that sat on a splinter.
  • Hark, hark! the lark
    On windswept bark
    Freezes against a sky of lead!
    Now see him stop,
    Take one small hop,
    And suddenly keel over dead!
    • The Lark

"Adventures of Isabel"

  • The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
    How do, Isabel, now I'll eat you!
    Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry.
    Isabel didn't scream or scurry.
  • Once in a night as black as pitch
    Isabel met a wicked old witch.
    the witch's face was cross and wrinkled,
    The witch's gums with teeth were sprinkled.
    Ho, ho, Isabel! the old witch crowed,
    I'll turn you into an ugly toad!
  • The giant was hairy, the giant was horrid,
    He had one eye in the middle of his forehead.
  • She took those pills from the pill concocter,
    And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.

Smoot Smites Smut

  • Senator Smoot (Republican, Ut.)
    Is planning a ban on smut.

    Oh rooti-ti-toot for Smoot of Ut.
    And his reverend occiput.
    Smite, Smoot, smite for Ut.,
    Grit your molars and do your dut.,
    Gird up your l__ns,
    Smite h_p and th_gh,
    We'll all be Kansas
    By and by.
  • When smut's to be smitten
    Smoot will smite
    For G-d, for country,
    And Fahrenheit.
  • Senator Smoot is an institute
    Not to be bribed with pelf;
    He guards our homes from erotic tomes
    By reading them all himself.
  • Smite, Smoot,
    Be rugged and rough,
    Smut if smitten
    Is front-page stuff.

Happy Days (1933)

  • Children aren't happy with nothing to ignore,
    And that's what parents were created for.
    • "The Parent"; paraphrased variants:
      Children aren't happy without something to ignore, and that's what parents were created for.
      Parents were invented to make children happy by giving them something to ignore.
  • I can't say that I feel particularly one way or the other towards bell-boy,
    But I do admit that I haven't much use for the it's-just-as-well boys,
    The cheery souls who drop around after every catastrophe and think they are taking the curse off
    By telling you about somebody who is even worse off.
    No matter how deep and dark your pit, how dank your shroud,
    Their heads are heroically unbloody and unbowed.
    • "Look for the Silver Lining"

I'm a Stranger Here Myself (1938)

  • The most exciting happiness is the happiness generated by forces beyond your control.
    • "The Anatomy of Happiness"
  • Remorse is a violent dyspepsia of the mind.
    • "A Clean Conscience Never Relaxes"
  • I think remorse ought to stop biting the consciences that feed it.
    • "A Clean Conscience Never Relaxes"
  • One man's remorse is another man's reminiscence.
    • "A Clean Conscience Never Relaxes"
  • Most bankers dwell in marble halls,
    Which they get to dwell in because they encourage deposits and discourage withdrawals,
    And particularly because they all observe one rule which woe betides the banker who fails to heed it,
    Which is you must never lend any money to anybody unless they don't need it.
    • "Bankers Are Just Like Anybody Else, Except Richer"
  • Every Englishman is convinced of one thing, viz.:
    That to be an Englishman is to belong to the most exclusive club there is.
    • "England Expects"
  • How easy for those who do not bulge
    To not overindulge!
    • "A Necessary Dirge"
  • Whether elected or appointed
    He considers himself the Lord's annointed,
    And indeed the ointment lingers on him
    So thick you can't get your fingers on him.
  • "The Politician"
  • Camped on a tropic riverside,
    One day he missed his loving bride.
    She had, the guide informed him later,
    Been eaten by an alligator.
    Professor Twist could not but smile.
    "You mean," he said, "a crocodile."
    • "The Purist"
  • There is one thing that ought to be taught in all the colleges,
    Which is that people ought to be taught not to go around always making apologies.
    • "Just Keep Quiet and Nobody Will Notice"
  • So I think there is one rule every host and hostess ought to keep with the comb and nail file and bicarbonate and aromatic spirits on a handy shelf,
    Which is don't spoil the denouement by telling the guests everything is terrible, but let them have the thrill of finding it out for themselves.
    • "Just Keep Quiet and Nobody Will Notice"

I Have It On Good Authority

  • There are two kinds of people who blow through life like a breeze,
    And one kind is gossipers, and the other kind is gossipees,
    And they certainly annoy each other,
    But they certainly enjoy each other
    ,
    Yes, they pretend to flout each other,
    But they couldn't do without each other...
  • Another good thing about gossip is that it is within everybody's reach,
    And it is much more interesting than any other form of speech,
    Because suppose you eschew gossip and just say
    Mr. Smith is in love with his wife.
    Why that disposes the Smiths as a topic of conversation for the rest of their life,
    But suppose you say with a smile, that poor little Mrs. Smith thinks her husband is in love with her, he must be very clever,
    Why then you can enjoyably talk about the Smiths forever.
  • And I also say Pooh for sweetness and light,
    And if you want to get the most out of life, why the thing to do is to be a gossiper by day and gossipee by night.

Good Intentions (1942)

  • God in his wisdom made the fly
    And then forgot to tell us why.
    • "The Fly"
  • Some primal termite knocked on wood
    And tasted it, and found it good!

    And that is why your Cousin May
    Fell through the parlor floor today.
    • "The Termite"
  • The further through life I drift
    The more obvious it becomes that I am lacking in thrift.
    • "A Penny Saved Is Impossible"

Seeing Eye to Eye is Believing

Full text online

  • I believe that people believe what they believe they believe.
  • When people reject a truth or an untruth it is not because it is a truth or an untruth that they reject it.
    No, if it isn't in accord with their beliefs in the first place they simply say, "Nothing doing," and refuse to inspect it.
  • These are enlightened days in which you can get hot water and cold water out of the same spigot,
    And everybody has something about which they are proud to be broad-minded but they also have other things about which you would be wasting your breath if you tried to convince them that they were a bigot.
  • And I have no desire to get ugly,
    But I cannot help mentioning that the door of a bigoted mind opens outwards so that the only result of the pressure of facts upon it is to close it more snugly.
  • Naturally I am not pointing a finger at me,
    But I must admit that I find Mr. Ickes or any other
    speaker far more convincing when I agree with
    him than when I disagree.

So Does Everybody Else, Only Not So Much

  • O all ye exorcizers come and exorcize now, and ye clergymen draw nigh and clerge,
    For I wish to be purged of an urge.
    It is an irksome urge, compounded of nettles and glue,
    And it is turning all my friends back into acquaintances, and all my acquaintances into people who look the other way when I heave into view.
  • It is an indication that my mental buttery is butterless and my mental larder lardless,
    And it consists not of "Stop me if you've heard this one," but of "I know you've heard this one because I told it to you myself, but I'm going to tell it to you again regardless..."
  • And what really turns my corpuscles to ice,
    I carry around clippings and read them to people twice.
    And I know what I am doing while I am doing it and I don't want to do it but I can't help doing it and I am just another Ancient Mariner,
    And the prospects for my future social life couldn't possibly be barrener.
    Did I tell you that the prospects for my future social life couldn't be barrener?

Many Long Years Ago (1945)

  • Don't Cry Darling, It's Blood All Right
    • Title of poem.
  • Purity
    Is obscurity.
    • "Reflection On A Wicked World"
  • The turtle trapped 'twixt plated decks
    Doth practically conceal its sex
    I think it clever of the turtle
    In such a fix to be so fertile.
    • "The Turtle"
  • I think that I shall never see
    A billboard lovely as a tree.
    Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
    I'll never see a tree at all.
    • "Song of the Open Road" — this poem is a parody of "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer.
  • When called by a panther,
    Don't anther.
    • "The Panther"
  • People expect old men to die,
    They do not really mourn old men.

    Old men are different. People look
    At them with eyes that wonder when...
    People watch with unshocked eyes;
    But the old men know when an old man dies.
    • "Old Men"
  • Passivity can be a provoking modus operandi;
    Consider the Empire and Gandhi.
    • "I Never Even Suggested It"
  • It is my duty, gentlemen, to inform you that women are dictators
    all, and I recommend to you this moral:
    In real life it takes only one to make a quarrel.
    • "I Never Even Suggested It"
  • People who have what they want are very fond of telling people who haven't what they want that they really don't want it,
    And I wish I could afford to gather all such people into a gloomy castle on the Danube and hire half a dozen capable Draculas to haunt it.
    I dont' mind their having a lot of money, and I don't care how they employ it,
    But I do think that they damn well ought to admit they enjoy it.
    • "The Terrible People"
  • Perhaps indeed the possession of wealth is constantly distressing,
    But I should be quite willing to assume every curse of wealth if I could at the same time assume every blessing.

    The only incurable troubles of the rich are the troubles that money can't cure,
    Which is a kind of trouble that is even more troublesome if you are poor.
    Certainly there are lots of things in life that money won't buy, but it's very funny —
    Have you ever tried to buy them without money?
    • "The Terrible People"
  • If you don't want to work you have to work to earn enough money so that you won't have to work.
    • "More About People"

A Lady Thinks She Is Thirty

  • Miranda in Miranda's sight
    Is old and gray and dirty;
    Twenty-nine she was last night;
    This morning she is thirty.
  • Silly girl, silver girl,
    Draw the mirror toward you;
    Time who makes the years to whirl
    Adorned as he adored you.
  • Time is timelessness for you;
    Calendars for the human;
    What's a year, or thirty, to
    Loveliness made woman?
  • Oh, Night will not see thirty again,
    Yet soft her wing, Miranda;
    Pick up your glass and tell me, then —
    How old is Spring, Miranda?
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

The Tale of Custard the Dragon

  • Belinda lived in a little white house,
    With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
    And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
    And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.
  • Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
    And the little gray mouse, she called him Blink,
    And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
    But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.
  • Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
    And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
    Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
    But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.
  • The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
    And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
    He fired two bullets, but they didn't hit,
    And Custard gobbled him, every bit.
How pleasant to sit on the beach,
On the beach, on the sand, in the sun...

Pretty Halcyon Days

  • How pleasant to sit on the beach,
    On the beach, on the sand, in the sun,
    With ocean galore within reach,
    And nothing at all to be done!
  • To lave in the wave,
    Majestic and chilly,
    Tomorrow I crave;
    But today it is silly.
    It is pleasant to look at the ocean;
    Tomorrow, perhaps, I shall swim in it.
  • Leave the earth to the strong and athletic,
    And the sea to adventure upon.
    But the sun and the sand
    No contractor can copy;
    We lie in the land
    Of the lotus and poppy;
    We vegetate, calm and aesthetic,
    On the beach, on the sand, in the sun.

Children's Party

  • May I join you in the doghouse, Rover?
    I wish to retire till the party's over.
  • I've earned repose to heal the ravages
    Of these angelic-looking savages.
    Oh, progeny playing by itself
    Is a lonely little elf,
    But progeny in roistering batches
    Would drive St. francis from here to Natchez.
  • Their joy needs another woe's to cushion it,
    Say a puddle, and someone littler to push in it.
    They observe with glee the ballistic results
    Of ice cream with spoons for catapults,
    And inform the assembly with tears and glares
    That everyone's presents are better than theirs.
    Oh, little women and little men,
    Someday I hope to love you again,
    But not till after the party's over,
    So give me the key to the doghouse, Rover
We love the kindly wind and hail,
The jolly thunderbolt,
We watch in glee the fairy trail
Of ampere, watt, and volt...

A Watched Example Never Boils

  • The weather is so very mild
    That some would call it warm.
    Good gracious, aren't we lucky, child?
    Here comes a thunderstorm.
  • The sky is now indelible ink,
    The branches reft asunder;
    But you and I we do not shrink;
    We love the lovely thunder.
  • The garden is a raging sea,
    The hurricane is snarling;
    Oh, happy you and happy me!
    Isn't the lightning darling?
  • Fear not the thunder, little one.
    It's weather, simply weather;
    It's friendly giants full of fun
    Clapping their hands together.
  • I hope of lightning our supply
    Will never be exhausted;
    You know its lanterns in the sky
    For angels who are losted.
  • We love the kindly wind and hail,
    The jolly thunderbolt,
    We watch in glee the fairy trail
    Of ampere, watt, and volt.
  • Oh, than to enjoy a storm like this
    There's nothing I would rather,
    Don't dive between the blankets, Miss!
    Or else leave room for Father.

Song To Be Sung by the Father of Infant Female Children

  • My heart leaps up when I behold
    A rainbow in the sky;
    Contrariwise, my blood runs cold
    When little boys go by.

    For little boys as little boys,
    No special hate I carry,
    But now and then they grow to men,
    And when they do, they marry.
    No matter how they tarry,
    Eventually they marry.
    And, swine among the pearls,
    They marry little girls.
  • A fig for embryo Lohengrins!
    I'll open all his safety pins,
    I'll pepper his powder, and salt his bottle,
    And give him readings from Aristotle.
    Sand for his spinach I'll gladly bring,
    And Tabasco sauce for his teething ring.
    Then perhaps he'll struggle through fire and water
    To marry somebody else's daughter.

Versus (1949)

Swans have cygnets,
Seals have puppies,
But guppies just have little guppies.
  • Whales have calves,
    Cats have kittens
    Bears have Cubs,
    Bats have bittens,
    Swans have cygnets,
    Seals have puppies,
    But guppies just have little guppies.
    • "The Guppy"
  • A young person is a person with nothing to learn
    One who already knows that ice does not chill and fire does not burn...

    It knows it can spend six hours in the sun on its first
    day at the beach without ending up a skinless beet,
    And it knows it can walk barefoot through the barn
    without running a nail in its feet. . . .
    Meanwhile psychologists grow rich
    Writing that the young are ones' should not
    undermine the self-confidence of which.
    • "Fortunately"
  • First
    Let the rockets flash and the cannon thunder,
    This child is a marvel, a matchless wonder.
    A staggering child, a child astounding,
    Dazzling, diaperless, dumfounding,
    Stupendous, miraculous, unsurpassed,
    A child to stagger and flabbergast,
    Bright as a button, sharp as a thorn,
    And the only perfect one ever born.
    Second
    Arrived this evening at half-past nine.
    Everybody is doing fine.
    Is it a boy, or quite the reverse?
    You can call in the morning and ask the nurse.
    • "First Child . . . Second Child"
  • Being a father
    Is quite a bother,
    But I like it, rather.
    • "Soliloquy in Circles"
  • Your hair may be brushed, but your mind's untidy,
    You've had about seven hours' sleep since Friday,
    No wonder you feel that lost sensation;
    You're sunk from a riot of relaxation.
    • "We'll All Feel Better By Wednesday"
  • Indoors or out, no one relaxes
    In March, that month of wind and taxes,
    The wind will presently disappear,
    The taxes last us all the year.
    • "Thar She Blows"
  • Middle age is when you've met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else...
    • "Let's Not Climb the Washington Monument Tonight"
  • Life has a tendency to obfuscate and bewilder,
    Such as fating us to spend the first part of our lives
    being embarrassed by our parents and the last part
    being embarrassed by our childer.
    • "What I Know About Life"
  • O Adolescence, O Adolescence
    I wince before thine incandescence . . .
    When anxious elders swarm about
    Crying "Where are you going?", thou answerest "Out," . . .
    Strewn! All is lost and nothing found
    Lord, how thou leavest things around! . . .
    • "Tarkington, Thou Should'st Be Living in This Hour"

Possessions are Nine Points of Conversation

  • Some people, and it doesn't matter whether they are paupers or millionaires,
    Think that anything they have is the best in the world just because it is theirs.
  • Other people, and it doesn't matter if they are Scandinavians or Celts,
    Think that anything is better than theirs just because it belongs to somebody else.
  • I think that comparisons are truly odious, I do not approve of this constant proud or envious to-do;
    And furthermore, dear friends, I think that you and yours are delightful and I also think that me and mine are delightful too.

Misattributions

  • Adam
    Had 'em.
    • This poem has widely been credited to Nash as a poem with the title "Fleas", but is actually the work of Strickland Gillilan and was originally titled "Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes." It has been dated to at least 1927, as published in the Mt Rainier Nature News Notes (1 July 1927).
  • A wonderful bird is a pelican,
    His bill will hold more than his belican.
    He can take in his beak
    Food enough for a week;
    But I'm damned if I see how the helican.
    • "The Pelican" (1910) by Dixon Lanire Merrith is another poem often misattributed to Nash

External links

Wikipedia
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Simple English

Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 - May 19, 1971) was a famous American poet. His poetry is thought by many people to be very funny.[1] Nash was born in in Rye, New York on August 19, 1902. In 1932, he joined the staff of The New Yorker. He died on May 19, 1971 in Baltimore, Maryland.

References


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