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Best Famous Ogden Nash Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Ogden Nash poems. This is a select list of the best famous Ogden Nash poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Ogden Nash poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Ogden Nash poems.

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Written by Ogden Nash |

Very Like a Whale

 One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts, Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when we are told That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold? In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough experience To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot of Assyrians.
However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and thus hinder longevity.
We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of brevity.
Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold, Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a wold on the fold? In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy there are great many things.
But I don't imagine that among them there is a wolf with purple and gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings.
No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was actually like a wolf I must have some kind of proof; Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red mouth and big white teeth and did he say Woof Woof? Frankly I think it is very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say, at the very most, Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian cohorts about to destroy the Hebrew host.
But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he had to invent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate them, With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers to people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot of wolves dressed up in gold and purple ate them.
That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets, from Homer to Tennyson; They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison, And they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket after a winter storm.
Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of snow and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical blanket material and we'll see which one keeps warm, And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.

Written by Ogden Nash |

The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus

 In Baltimore there lived a boy.
He wasn't anybody's joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes, His character was full of flaws.
In school he never led his classes, He hid old ladies' reading glasses, His mouth was open when he chewed, And elbows to the table glued.
He stole the milk of hungry kittens, And walked through doors marked NO ADMITTANCE.
He said he acted thus because There wasn't any Santa Claus.
Another trick that tickled Jabez Was crying 'Boo' at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town, Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin, And viewed his antics with a grin, Till they were told by Jabez Dawes, 'There isn't any Santa Claus!' Deploring how he did behave, His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly, And Jabez left the funeral early.
Like whooping cough, from child to child, He sped to spread the rumor wild: 'Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes There isn't any Santa Claus!' Slunk like a weasel of a marten Through nursery and kindergarten, Whispering low to every tot, 'There isn't any, no there's not!' The children wept all Christmas eve And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared hang up his stocking For fear of Jabez' ribald mocking.
He sprawled on his untidy bed, Fresh malice dancing in his head, When presently with scalp-a-tingling, Jabez heard a distant jingling; He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door? A shower of soot was on the floor.
What was beheld by Jabez Dawes? The fireplace full of Santa Claus! Then Jabez fell upon his knees With cries of 'Don't,' and 'Pretty Please.
' He howled, 'I don't know where you read it, But anyhow, I never said it!' 'Jabez' replied the angry saint, 'It isn't I, it's you that ain't.
Although there is a Santa Claus, There isn't any Jabez Dawes!' Said Jabez then with impudent vim, 'Oh, yes there is, and I am him! Your magic don't scare me, it doesn't' And suddenly he found he wasn't! From grimy feet to grimy locks, Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box, An ugly toy with springs unsprung, Forever sticking out his tongue.
The neighbors heard his mournful squeal; They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes, Which led to thunderous applause, And people drank a loving cup And went and hung their stockings up.
All you who sneer at Santa Claus, Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes, The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.

Written by Ogden Nash |

Just Keep Quiet and Nobody Will Notice

 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.
I don't mean the kind of apologies people make when they run over you or borrow five dollars or step on your feet, Because I think that is sort of sweet; No, I object to one kind of apology alone, Which is when people spend their time and yours apologizing for everything they own.
You go to their house for a meal, And they apologize because the anchovies aren't caviar or the partridge is veal; They apologize privately for the crudeness of the other guests, And they apologize publicly for their wife's housekeeping or their husband's jests; If they give you a book by Dickens they apologize because it isn't by Scott, And if they take you to the theater, they apologize for the acting and the dialogue and the plot; They contain more milk of human kindness than the most capacious diary can, But if you are from out of town they apologize for everything local and if you are a foreigner they apologize for everything American.
I dread these apologizers even as I am depicting them, I shudder as I think of the hours that must be spend in contradicting them, Because you are very rude if you let them emerge from an argument victorious, And when they say something of theirs is awful, it is your duty to convince them politely that it is magnificent and glorious, And what particularly bores me with them, Is that half the time you have to politely contradict them when you rudely agree with them, 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.

More great poems below...

Written by Ogden Nash |

I Do I Will I Have

 How wise I am to have instructed the butler
to instruct the first footman to instruct the second
footman to instruct the doorman to order my carriage;
I am about to volunteer a definition of marriage.
Just as I know that there are two Hagens, Walter and Copen, I know that marriage is a legal and religious alliance entered into by a man who can't sleep with the window shut and a woman who can't sleep with the window open.
Moreover, just as I am unsure of the difference between flora and fauna and flotsam and jetsam, I am quite sure that marriage is the alliance of two people one of whom never remembers birthdays and the other never forgetsam, And he refuses to believe there is a leak in the water pipe or the gas pipe and she is convinced she is about to asphyxiate or drown, And she says Quick get up and get my hairbrushes off the windowsill, it's raining in, and he replies Oh they're all right, it's only raining straight down.
That is why marriage is so much more interesting than divorce, Because it's the only known example of the happy meeting of the immovable object and the irresistible force.
So I hope husbands and wives will continue to debate and combat over everything debatable and combatable, Because I believe a little incompatibility is the spice of life, particularly if he has income and she is pattable.

Written by Ogden Nash |

Reflection On Caution

 Affection is a noble quality;
It leads to generosity and jollity.
But it also leads to breach of promise If you go around lavishing it on red-hot momise.

Written by Ogden Nash |

Come On In The Senility Is Fine

 People live forever in Jacksonville and St.
Petersburg and Tampa, But you don't have to live forever to become a grampa.
The entrance requirements for grampahood are comparatively mild, You only have to live until your child has a child.
From that point on you start looking both ways over your shoulder, Because sometimes you feel thirty years younger and sometimes thirty years older.
Now you begin to realize who it was that reached the height of imbecility, It was whoever said that grandparents have all the fun and none of the responsibility.
This is the most enticing spiderwebs of a tarradiddle ever spun, Because everybody would love to have a baby around who was no responsibility and lots of fun, But I can think of no one but a mooncalf or a gaby Who would trust their own child to raise a baby.
So you have to personally superintend your grandchild from diapers to pants and from bottle to spoon, Because you know that your own child hasn't sense enough to come in out of a typhoon.
You don't have to live forever to become a grampa, but if you do want to live forever, Don't try to be clever; If you wish to reach the end of the trail with an uncut throat, Don't go around saying Quote I don't mind being a grampa but I hate being married to a gramma Unquote.

Written by Ogden Nash |

Peekabo I Almost See You

 Middle-aged life is merry, and I love to
lead it,
But there comes a day when your eyes
are all right but your arm isn't long
to hold the telephone book where you can read it,
And your friends get jocular, so you go
to the oculist,
And of all your friends he is the joculist,
So over his facetiousness let us skim,
Only noting that he has been waiting for you ever since
you said Good evening to his grandfather clock under
the impression that it was him,
And you look at his chart and it says SHRDLU QWERTYOP,
and you say Well, why SHRDNTLU QWERTYOP? and he
says one set of glasses won't do.
You need two.
One for reading Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason and Keats's "Endymion" with, And the other for walking around without saying Hello to strange wymion with.
So you spend your time taking off your seeing glasses to put on your reading glasses, and then remembering that your reading glasses are upstairs or in the car, And then you can't find your seeing glasses again because without them on you can't see where they are.
Enough of such mishaps, they would try the patience of an ox, I prefer to forget both pairs of glasses and pass my declining years saluting strange women and grandfather clocks.

Written by Ogden Nash |

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.

Written by Ogden Nash |

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!
 No letters to answer,
 No bills to be burned,
 No work to be shirked,
 No cash to be earned,
It is pleasant to sit on the beach
With nothing at all to be done!

How pleasant to look at the ocean,
Democratic and damp; indiscriminate;
It fills me with noble emotion
To think I am able to swim in it.
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.
How pleasant to gaze at the sailors As their sailboats they manfully sail With the vigor of vikings and whalers In the days of the vikings and whale.
They sport on the brink Of the shad and the shark; If it’s windy, they sink; If it isn’t, they park.
It is pleasant to gaze at the sailors, To gaze without having to sail.
How pleasant the salt anesthetic Of the air and the sand and the sun; 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.

Written by Ogden Nash |

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 cranium.
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 antiquarianism.
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 aviation.
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.

Written by Ogden Nash |

Adventures Of Isabel

 Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn't care;
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear's big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
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.
She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up, Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.
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! Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry, Isabel didn't scream or scurry, She showed no rage and she showed no rancor, But she turned the witch into milk and drank her.
Isabel met a hideous giant, Isabel continued self reliant.
The giant was hairy, the giant was horrid, He had one eye in the middle of his forhead.
Good morning, Isabel, the giant said, I'll grind your bones to make my bread.
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry, Isabel didn't scream or scurry.
She nibled the zwieback that she always fed off, And when it was gone, she cut the giant's head off.
Isabel met a troublesome doctor, He punched and he poked till he really shocked her.
The doctor's talk was of coughs and chills And the doctor's satchel bulged with pills.
The doctor said unto Isabel, Swallow this, it will make you well.
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry, Isabel didn't scream or scurry.
She took those pills from the pill concocter, And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.

Written by Ogden Nash |

Tin Wedding Whistle

 Though you know it anyhow 
Listen to me, darling, now, 
Proving what I need not prove 
How I know I love you, love.
Near and far, near and far, I am happy where you are; Likewise I have never larnt How to be it where you aren't.
Far and wide, far and wide, I can walk with you beside; Furthermore, I tell you what, I sit and sulk where you are not.
Visitors remark my frown Where you're upstairs and I am down, Yes, and I'm afraid I pout When I'm indoors and you are out; But how contentedly I view Any room containing you.
In fact I care not where you be, Just as long as it's with me.
In all your absences I glimpse Fire and flood and trolls and imps.
Is your train a minute slothful? I goad the stationmaster wrothful.
When with friends to bridge you drive I never know if you're alive, And when you linger late in shops I long to telephone the cops.
Yet how worth the waiting for, To see you coming through the door.
Somehow, I can be complacent Never but with you adjacent.
Near and far, near and far, I am happy where you are; Likewise I have never larnt How to be it where you aren't.
Then grudge me not my fond endeavor, To hold you in my sight forever; Let none, not even you, disparage Such a valid reason for a marriage.

Written by Ogden Nash |

The Clean Plater

 Some singers sing of ladies' eyes,
And some of ladies lips,
Refined ones praise their ladylike ways,
And course ones hymn their hips.
The Oxford Book of English Verse Is lush with lyrics tender; A poet, I guess, is more or less Preoccupied with gender.
Yet I, though custom call me crude, Prefer to sing in praise of food.
Food, Yes, food, Just any old kind of food.
Pheasant is pleasant, of course, And terrapin, too, is tasty, Lobster I freely endorse, In pate or patty or pasty.
But there's nothing the matter with butter, And nothing the matter with jam, And the warmest greetings I utter To the ham and the yam and the clam.
For they're food, All food, And I think very fondly of food.
Through I'm broody at times When bothered by rhymes, I brood On food.
Some painters paint the sapphire sea, And some the gathering storm.
Others portray young lambs at play, But most, the female form.
“Twas trite in that primeval dawn When painting got its start, That a lady with her garments on Is Life, but is she Art? By undraped nymphs I am not wooed; I'd rather painters painted food.
Food, Just food, Just any old kind of food.
Go purloin a sirloin, my pet, If you'd win a devotion incredible; And asparagus tips vinaigrette, Or anything else that is edible.
Bring salad or sausage or scrapple, A berry or even a beet.
Bring an oyster, an egg, or an apple, As long as it's something to eat.
If it's food, It's food; Never mind what kind of food.
When I ponder my mind I consistently find It is glued On food.

Written by Ogden Nash |

Oh To Be Odd!

Spend the winter at the bottom of Florida and the summer on top of
the Adirondriacs.
You go to Paris and live on champagne wine and cognac If you're dipsomognac.
If you're a manic-depressive You don't go anywhere where you won't be cheered up, and people say "There, there!" if your bills are excessive.
But you stick around and work day and night and night and day with your nose to the sawmill.
If you're nawmill.
Note: Dipsomaniac -- alcoholic

Written by Ogden Nash |

The Dog

 What I was doing with my white teeth exposed
like that on the side of the road I don't know,
and I don't know why I lay beside the sewer
so that the lover of dead things could come back
with is pencil sharpened and his piece of white paper.
I was there for a good two hours whistling dirges, shrieking a little, terrifying hearts with my whimpering cries before I died by pulling the one leg up and stiffening.
There is a look we have with the hair of the chin curled in mid-air, there is a look with the belly stopped in the midst of its greed.
The lover of dead things stoops to feel me, his hand is shaking.
I know his mouth is open and his glasses are slipping.
I think his pencil must be jerking and the terror of smell—and sight—is overtaking him; I know he has that terrified faraway look that death brings—he is contemplating.
I want him to touch my forehead once again and rub my muzzle before he lifts me up and throws me into that little valley.
I hope he doesn't use his shoe for fear of touching me; I know, or used to know, the grasses down there; I think I knew a hundred smells.
I hope the dog's way doesn't overtake him, one quick push, barely that, and the mind freed, something else, some other, thing to take its place.
Great heart, great human heart, keep loving me as you lift me, give me your tears, great loving stranger, remember, the death of dogs, forgive the yapping, forgive the shitting, let there be pity, give me your pity.
How could there be enough? I have given my life for this, emotion has ruined me, oh lover, I have exchanged my wildness—little tricks with the mouth and feet, with the tail, my tongue is a parrots's, I am a rampant horse, I am a lion, I wait for the cookie, I snap my teeth— as you have taught me, oh distant and brilliant and lonely.