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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
metaphor.
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.

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 |

A Tale Of The Thirteenth Floor

 The hands of the clock were reaching high
In an old midtown hotel;
I name no name, but its sordid fame
Is table talk in hell.
I name no name, but hell's own flame Illumes the lobby garish, A gilded snare just off Times Square For the maidens of the parish.
The revolving door swept the grimy floor Like a crinoline grotesque, And a lowly bum from an ancient slum Crept furtively past the desk.
His footsteps sift into the lift As a knife in the sheath is slipped, Stealthy and swift into the lift As a vampire into a crypt.
Old Maxie, the elevator boy, Was reading an ode by Shelley, But he dropped the ode as it were a toad When the gun jammed into his belly.
There came a whisper as soft as mud In the bed of an old canal: "Take me up to the suite of Pinball Pete, The rat who betrayed my gal.
" The lift doth rise with groans and sighs Like a duchess for the waltz, Then in middle shaft, like a duchess daft, It changes its mind and halts.
The bum bites lip as the landlocked ship Doth neither fall nor rise, But Maxie the elevator boy Regards him with burning eyes.
"First, to explore the thirteenth floor," Says Maxie, "would be wise.
" Quoth the bum, "There is moss on your double cross, I have been this way before, I have cased the joint at every point, And there is no thirteenth floor.
The architect he skipped direct From twelve unto fourteen, There is twelve below and fourteen above, And nothing in between, For the vermin who dwell in this hotel Could never abide thirteen.
" Said Max, "Thirteen, that floor obscene, Is hidden from human sight; But once a year it doth appear, On this Walpurgis Night.
Ere you peril your soul in murderer's role, Heed those who sinned of yore; The path they trod led away from God, And onto the thirteenth floor, Where those they slew, a grisly crew, Reproach them forevermore.
"We are higher than twelve and below fourteen," Said Maxie to the bum, "And the sickening draft that taints the shaft Is a whiff of kingdom come.
The sickening draft that taints the shaft Blows through the devil's door!" And he squashed the latch like a fungus patch, And revealed the thirteenth floor.
It was cheap cigars like lurid scars That glowed in the rancid gloom, The murk was a-boil with fusel oil And the reek of stale perfume.
And round and round there dragged and wound A loathsome conga chain, The square and the hep in slow lock step, The slayer and the slain.
(For the souls of the victims ascend on high, But their bodies below remain.
) The clean souls fly to their home in the sky, But their bodies remain below To pursue the Cain who each has slain And harry him to and fro.
When life is extinct each corpse is linked To its gibbering murderer, As a chicken is bound with wire around The neck of a killer cur.
Handcuffed to Hate come Doctor Waite (He tastes the poison now), And Ruth and Judd and a head of blood With horns upon its brow.
Up sashays Nan with her feathery fan From Floradora bright; She never hung for Caesar Young But she's dancing with him tonight.
Here's the bulging hip and the foam-flecked lip Of the mad dog, Vincent Coll, And over there that ill-met pair, Becker and Rosenthal, Here's Legs and Dutch and a dozen such Of braggart bullies and brutes, And each one bends 'neath the weight of friends Who are wearing concrete suits.
Now the damned make way for the double-damned Who emerge with shuffling pace From the nightmare zone of persons unknown, With neither name nor face.
And poor Dot King to one doth cling, Joined in a ghastly jig, While Elwell doth jape at a goblin shape And tickle it with his wig.
See Rothstein pass like breath on a glass, The original Black Sox kid; He riffles the pack, riding piggyback On the killer whose name he hid.
And smeared like brine on a slavering swine, Starr Faithful, once so fair, Drawn from the sea to her debauchee, With the salt sand in her hair.
And still they come, and from the bum The icy sweat doth spray; His white lips scream as in a dream, "For God's sake, let's away! If ever I meet with Pinball Pete I will not seek his gore, Lest a treadmill grim I must trudge with him On the hideous thirteenth floor.
" "For you I rejoice," said Maxie's voice, "And I bid you go in peace, But I am late for a dancing date That nevermore will cease.
So remember, friend, as your way you wend, That it would have happened to you, But I turned the heat on Pinball Pete; You see - I had a daughter, too!" The bum reached out and he tried to shout, But the door in his face was slammed, And silent as stone he rode down alone From the floor of the double-damned.

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 |

Look What You Did Christopher!

 In fourteen hundred and ninety-two,
Someone sailed the ocean blue.
Somebody borrowed the fare in Spain For a business trip on the bounding main, And to prove to the people, by actual test, You could get to the East by sailing West.
Somebody said, Sail on! Sail on! And studied China and China's lingo, And cried from the bow, There's China now! And promptly bumped into San Domingo.
Somebody murmured, Oh dear, oh dear! I've discovered the Western Hemisphere.
And that, you may think, my friends, was that.
But it wasn't.
Not by a fireman's hat.
Well enough wasn't left alone, And Columbus was only a cornerstone.
There came the Spaniards, There came the Greeks, There came the Pilgrims in leather breeks.
There came the Dutch, And the Poles and Swedes, The Persians, too, And perhaps the Medes, The Letts, the Lapps, and the Lithuanians, Regal Russians, and ripe Roumanians.
There came the French And there came the Finns, And the Japanese With their formal grins.
The Tartars came, And the Terrible Turks - In a word, humanity shot the works.
And the country that should have been Cathay Decided to be The U.
S.
A.
And that, you may think, my friends, was that.
But it wasn't.
Not by a fireman's hat.
Christopher C.
was the cornerstone, And well enough wasn't left alone.
For those who followed When he was through, They burned to discover something, too.
Somebody, bored with rural scenery, Went to work and invented machinery, While a couple of other mental giants Got together And thought up Science.
Platinum blondes (They were once peroxide), Peruvian bonds And carbon monoxide, Tax evaders And Vitamin A, Vice crusaders, And tattletale gray - These, with many another phobia, We owe to that famous Twelfth of Octobia.
O misery, misery, mumble and moan! Someone invented the telephone, And interrupted a nation's slumbers, Ringing wrong but similar numbers.
Someone devised the silver screen And the intimate Hollywood magazine, And life is a Hades Of clicking cameras, And foreign ladies Behaving amorous.
Gags have erased Amusing dialog, As gas has replaced The crackling firelog.
All that glitters is sold as gold, And our daily diet grows odder and odder, And breakfast foods are dusty and cold - It's a wise child That knows its fodder.
Someone invented the automobile, And good Americans took the wheel To view American rivers and rills And justly famous forests and hills - But someone equally enterprising Had invented billboard advertising.
You linger at home In dark despair, And wistfully try the electric air.
You hope against hope for a quiz imperial, And what do they give you? A doctor serial.
Oh, Columbus was only a cornerstone, And well enough wasn't left alone, For the Inquisition was less tyrannical Than the iron rules of an age mechanical, Which, because of an error in '92, Are clamped like corsets on me and you, While Children of Nature we'd be today If San Domingo Had been Cathay.
And that, you may think, my friends, is that.
But it isn't - not by a fireman's hat.
The American people, With grins jocose, Always survive the fatal dose.
And though our systems are slightly wobbly, We'll fool the doctor this time, probly.

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 |

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 |

The Firefly

 The firefly's flame 
Is something for which science has no name 
I can think of nothing eerier 
Than flying around with an unidentified glow on a 
person's posteerier.

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!

 Hypochondriacs
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 |

One Third Of The Calendar

 In January everything freezes.
We have two children.
Both are she'ses.
This is our January rule: One girl in bed, and one in school.
In February the blizzard whirls.
We own a pair of little girls.
Blessings upon of each the head ---- The one in school and the one in bed.
March is the month of cringe and bluster.
Each of our children has a sister.
They cling together like Hansel and Gretel, With their noses glued to the benzoin kettle.
April is made of impetuous waters And doctors looking down throats of daughters.
If we had a son too, and a thoroughbred, We'd have a horse, And a boy, And two girls In bed.

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.