Two poems by Ogdan Nash

Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971 ) America’s Laureate of Light Verse

Candy is dandy,
but liquor is quicker — ON

I love his poems. It was a pleasure to discover some which I had not read before. Simple verses, sometimes humorous, insightful, whimsical, and sometimes nonsensical and immensely enjoyable. Even the titles of his poems are such fun for example ‘I Always Say a Good Saint Is No Worse Than a Bad Cold’. Nash’s poems contained some truth of human experience. His signature style used exaggeration, an element of surprise,and absurdity juxtaposed with the universal experience.

There are hundreds of his poems I can share but for now enjoy these two. 🙂

1. No, You Be A Lone Eagle

I find it very hard to be fair-minded
About people who go around being air-minded.
I just can’t see any fun
In soaring up up up into the sun
When the chances are still a fresh cool orchid to a paper geranium
That you’ll unsoar down down down onto your (to you) invaluable
I know the constant refrain
About how safer up in God’s trafficless heaven than in an automobile
or a train
But …
My God, have you ever taken a good look at a strut?
Then that one about how you’re in Boston before you can say antidis-establishmentarianism
So that preferring to take five hours by rail is a pernicious example of
At least when I get on the Boston train I have a good chance of landing
in the South Station
And not in that part of the daily press which is reserved for victims of
Then, despite the assurance that aeroplanes are terribly comfortable I notice that when you are railroading or automobiling
You don’t have to take a paper bag along just in case of a funny feeling.
It seems to me that no kind of depravity
Brings such speedy retribution as ignoring the law of gravity.
Therefore nobody could possibly indict me for perjury
When I swear that I wish the Wright brothers had gone in for silver
fox farming or tree surgery.

Ogden Nash

2 What Almost Every Woman Knows Sooner Or Later

Husbands are things that wives have to get used to putting up with.
And with whom they breakfast with and sup with.
They interfere with the discipline of nurseries,
And forget anniversaries,
And when they have been particularly remiss
They think they can cure everything with a great big kiss,
And when you tell them about something awful they have done they just
look unbearably patient and smile a superior smile,
And think, Oh she’ll get over it after a while.
And they always drink cocktails faster than they can assimilate them,
And if you look in their direction they act as if they were martyrs and
you were trying to sacrifice, or immolate them,
And when it’s a question of walking five miles to play golf they are very
energetic but if it’s doing anything useful around the house they are
very lethargic,
And then they tell you that women are unreasonable and don’t know
anything about logic,
And they never want to get up or go to bed at the same time as you do,
And when you perform some simple common or garden rite like putting
cold cream on your face or applying a touch of lipstick they seem to
think that you are up to some kind of black magic like a priestess of Voodoo.
And they are brave and calm and cool and collected about the ailments
of the person they have promised to honor and cherish,
But the minute they get a sniffle or a stomachache of their own, why
you’d think they were about to perish,
And when you are alone with them they ignore all the minor courtesies
and as for airs and graces, they uttlerly lack them,
But when there are a lot of people around they hand you so many chairs
and ashtrays and sandwiches and butter you with such bowings and
scrapings that you want to smack them.
Husbands are indeed an irritating form of life,
And yet through some quirk of Providence most of them are really very
deeply ensconced in the affection of their wife.

Ogden Nash

4 thoughts on “Two poems by Ogdan Nash

  1. Lovely post! Dropping by…

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  2. Heres one Ogden favourite of mine –

    Polterguest, My Polterguest

    I’ve put Miss Hopper upon the train,
    And I hope to do so never again,
    For must I do so, I shouldn’t wonder
    If, instead of upon it, I put her under.

    Never has host encountered a visitor
    Less desirable, less exquisiter,
    Or experienced such a tangy zest
    In beholding the back of a parting guest.

    Hoitful-toitful Hecate Hopper
    Haunted our house and haunted it proper,
    Hecate Hopper left the property
    Irredeemably Hecate Hopperty.

    The morning paper was her monopoly
    She read it first, and Hecate Hopperly,
    Handing on to the old subscriber
    A wad of Dorothy Dix and fiber.

    Shall we coin a phrase for “to unco-operate”?
    How about trying “to Hecate Hopperate”?
    On the maid’s days off she found it fun
    To breakfast in bed at quarter to one.

    Not only was Hecate on a diet,
    She insisted that all the family try it,
    And all one week end we gobbled like pigs
    On rutabagas and salted figs.

    She clogged the pipes and she blew the fuses,
    She broke the rocker that Grandma uses,
    And she ran amok in the medicine chest,
    Hecate Hopper, the Polterguest.

    Hecate Hopper, the Polterguest
    Left stuff to be posted or expressed,
    And absconded, her suavity undiminished,
    With a mystery story I hadn’t finished.

    If I pushed Miss Hopper under the train
    I’d probably have to do it again,
    For the time that I pushed her off the boat
    I regretfully found Miss Hopper could float.
    — Ogden Nash


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