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Best Famous Ogden Nash Poems

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by Ogden Nash | |


 Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me; "Here he lies where he longed to be, Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill.

by Ogden Nash | |


 There is a knocking in the skull,
An endless silent shout
Of something beating on a wall,
And crying, “Let me out!”

That solitary prisoner
Will never hear reply.
No comrade in eternity Can hear the frantic cry.
No heart can share the terror That haunts his monstrous dark.
The light that filters through the chinks No other eye can mark.
When flesh is linked with eager flesh, And words run warm and full, I think that he is loneliest then, The captive in the skull.
Caught in a mesh of living veins, In cell of padded bone, He loneliest is when he pretends That he is not alone.
We’d free the incarcerate race of man That such a doom endures Could only you unlock my skull, Or I creep into yours.

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.

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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.

by Ogden Nash | |

The Sniffle

 In spite of her sniffle
Isabel's chiffle.
Some girls with a sniffle Would be weepy and tiffle; They would look awful, Like a rained-on waffle, But Isabel's chiffle In spite of her sniffle.
Her nose is more red With a cold in her head, But then, to be sure, Her eyes are bluer.
Some girls with a snuffle, Their tempers are uffle.
But when Isabel's snivelly She's snivelly civilly, And when she's snuffly She's perfectly luffly.

by Ogden Nash | |

Childrens Party

 May I join you in the doghouse, Rover?
I wish to retire till the party's over.
Since three o'clock I've done my best To entertain each tiny guest.
My conscience now I've left behind me, And if they want me, let them find me.
I blew their bubbles, I sailed their boats, I kept them from each other's throats.
I told them tales of magic lands, I took them out to wash their hands.
I sorted their rubbers and tied their laces, I wiped their noses and dried their faces.
Of similarities there's lots Twixt tiny tots and Hottentots.
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.
Shunned are the games a parent proposes, They prefer to squirt each other with hoses, Their playmates are their natural foemen And they like to poke each other's abdomen.
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

by Ogden Nash | |

The Ant

 The ant has made herself illustrious
By constant industry industrious.
So what? Would you be calm and placid If you were full of formic acid?

by Ogden Nash | |

The Bargain

 As I was going to St.
Ives I met a man with seven lives; Seven lives, In seven sacks, Like seven beeves On seven racks.
These seven lives He offered to sell, But which was best He couldn't tell.
He swore with any I'd be happy forever; I bought all seven And thought I was clever, But his parting words I can't forget: Forever Isn't over yet.

by Ogden Nash | |

The Abominable Snowman

 I've never seen an abominable snowman, 
I'm hoping not to see one, 
I'm also hoping, if I do, 
That it will be a wee one.

by Ogden Nash | |

Two Dogs HaveI

 For years we've had a little dog,
Last year we acquired a big dog;
He wasn't big when we got him,
He was littler than the dog we had.
We thought our little dog would love him, Would help him to become a trig dog, But the new little dog got bigger, And the old little dog got mad.
Now the big dog loves the little dog, But the little dog hates the big dog, The little dog is eleven years old, And the big dog only one; The little dog calls him Schweinhund, The little dog calls him Pig-dog, She grumbles broken curses As she dreams in the August sun.
The big dog's teeth are terrible, But he wouldn't bite the little dog; The little dog wants to grind his bones, But the little dog has no teeth; The big dog is acrobatic, The little dog is a brittle dog; She leaps to grip his jugular, And passes underneath.
The big dog clings to the little dog Like glue and cement and mortar; The little dog is his own true love; But the big dog is to her Like a scarlet rag to a Longhorn, Or a suitcase to a porter; The day he sat on the hornet I distinctly heard her purr.
Well, how can you blame the little dog, Who was once the household darling? He romps like a young Adonis, She droops like an old mustache; No wonder she steals his corner, No wonder she comes out snarling, No wonder she calls him Cochon And even Espèce de vache.
Yet once I wanted a sandwich, Either caviar or cucumber, When the sun had not yet risen And the moon had not yet sank; As I tiptoed through the hallway The big dog lay in slumber, And the little dog slept by the big dog, And her head was on his flank.

by Ogden Nash | |

Will Consider Situation

 There here are words of radical advice for a young man looking for a job;
Young man, be a snob.
Yes, if you are in search of arguments against starting at the bottom, Why I've gottem.
Let the personnel managers differ; It,s obvious that you will get on faster at the top than at the bottom because there are more people at the bottom than at the top so naturally the competition at the bottom is stiffer.
If you need any further proof that my theory works Well, nobody can deny that presidents get paid more than vice-presidents and vice-presidents get paid more than clerks.
Stop looking at me quizzically; I want to add that you will never achieve fortune in a job that makes you uncomfortable physically.
When anybody tells you that hard jobs are better for you than soft jobs be sure to repeat this text to them, Postmen tramp around all day through rain and snow just to deliver other people's in cozy air-conditioned offices checks to them.
You don't need to interpret tea leaves stuck in a cup To understand that people who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up.
Another thing about having a comfortable job is you not only accommodate more treasure; You get more leisure.
So that when you find you have worked so comfortably that your waistline is a menace, You correct it with golf or tennis.
Whereas is in an uncomfortable job like piano-moving or stevedoring you indulge, You have no time to exercise, you just continue to bulge.
To sum it up, young man, there is every reason to refuse a job that will make heavy demands on you corporally or manually, And the only intelligent way to start your career is to accept a sitting position paying at least twenty-five thousand dollars annually.

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.

by Ogden Nash | |

Whats The Use?

 Sure, deck your limbs in pants,
Yours are the limbs, my sweeting.
You look divine as you advance .
Have you seen yourself retreating?

by Ogden Nash | |

The Cantaloupe

 One cantaloupe is ripe and lush,
Another's green, another's mush.
I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe If I possessed a fluoroscope.

by Ogden Nash | |

The Centipede

 I objurgate the centipede, 
A bug we do not really need.
At sleepy-time he beats a path Straight to the bedroom or the bath.
You always wallop where he's not, Or, if he is, he makes a spot.

by Ogden Nash | |

The Chipmunk

 My friends all know that I am shy,
But the chipmunk is twice and shy and I.
He moves with flickering indecision Like stripes across the television.
He's like the shadow of a cloud, Or Emily Dickinson read aloud.

by Ogden Nash | |

The Shrimp

 A shrimp who sought his lady shrimp
Could catch no glimpse
Not even a glimp.
At times, translucence Is rather a nuisance.

by Ogden Nash | |

Winter Complaint

 Now when I have a cold
I am careful with my cold, 
I consult a physician 
And I do as I am told.
I muffle up my torso In woolly woolly garb, And I quaff great flagons Of sodium bicarb.
I munch on aspirin, I lunch on water, And I wouldn’t dream of osculating Anybody’s daughter, And to anybody’s son I wouldn’t say howdy, For I am a sufferer Magna cum laude.
I don’t like germs, But I’ll keep the germs I’ve got.
Will I take a chance of spreading them? Definitely not.
I sneeze out the window And I cough up the flue, And I live like a hermit Till the germs get through.
And because I’m considerate, Because I’m wary, I am treated by my friends Like Typhoid Mary.
Now when you have a cold You are careless with your cold, You are cocky as a gangster Who has just been paroled.
You ignore your physician, You eat steaks and oxtails, You stuff yourself with starches, You drink lots of cocktails, And you claim that gargling Is a time of waste, And you won’t take soda For you don’t like the taste, And you prowl around parties Full of selfish bliss, And greet your hostess With a genial kiss.
You convert yourself Into a deadly missle, You exhale Hello’s Like a steamboat wistle.
You sneeze in the subway And you cough at dances, And let everybody else Take their own good chances.
You’re a bronchial boor, A bacterial blighter, And you get more invitations Than a gossip writer.
Yes, your throat is froggy, And your eyes are swimmy, And you hand is clammy, And you nose is brimmy, But you woo my girls And their hearts you jimmy While I sit here With the cold you gimmy.

by Ogden Nash | |

You Can Be A Republican Im A Genocrat

 Oh, "rorty" was a mid-Victorian word
Which meant "fine, splendid, jolly,"
And often to me it has reoccurred
In moments melancholy.
For instance, children, I think it rorty To be with people over forty.
I can't say which, come eventide, More tedious I find; Competing with the juvenile stride, Or meeting the juvenile mind.
So I think it rorty, yes, and nifty, To be with people over fifty.
The pidgin talk the youthful use Bypasses conversation.
I can't believe the code they choose Is a means of communication.
Oh to be with people over sixty Despite their tendency to prolixty! The hours a working parent keeps Mean less than Latin to them, Wherefore they disappear in jeeps Till three and four A.
Oh, to be with people you pour a cup for Instead of people you have to wait up for! I've tried to read young mumbling lips Till I've developed a slant-eye, And my hearing fails at the constant wails Of, If I can't, why can't I? Oh, to be beside a septuagenarian, Silent upon a peak in Darien! They don't know Hagen from Bobby Jones, They never heard of Al Smith, Even Red Grange is beyond their range, And Dempsey is a myth.
Oh golly, to gabble upon the shoulder Of someone my own age, or even older! I'm tired of defining hadn't oughts.
To opposition mulish, The thoughts of youth are long long thoughts, And Jingo! Aren't they foolish! All which is why, in case you've wondered I'd like a companion aged one hundred.

by Ogden Nash | |

The Rhinoceros

 The rhino is a homely beast, 
For human eyes he's not a feast.
Farwell, farewell, you old rhinoceros, I'll stare at something less prepoceros.

by Ogden Nash | |

The Romantic Age

 This one is entering her teens,
Ripe for sentimental scenes,
Has picked a gangling unripe male,
Sees herself in bridal veil,
Presses lips and tosses head,
Declares she's not too young to wed,
Informs you pertly you forget
Romeo and Juliet.
Do not argue, do not shout; Remind her how that one turned out.

by Ogden Nash | |

Spring Comes To Murray Hill

 I sit in an office at 244 Madison Avenue
And say to myself You have a responsible job havenue?
Why then do you fritter away your time on this doggerel?
If you have a sore throat you can cure it by using a good goggeral,
If you have a sore foot you can get it fixed by a chiropodist,
And you can get your original sin removed by St.
John the Bopodist, Why then should this flocculent lassitude be incurable? Kansas City, Kansas, proves that even Kansas City needn't always be Missourible.
Up up my soul! This inaction is abominable.
Perhaps it is the result of disturbances abdominable.
The pilgrims settled Massachusetts in 1620 when they landed on a stone hummock.
Maybe if they were here now they would settle my stomach.
Oh, if I only had the wings of a bird Instead of being confined on Madison Avenue I could soar in a jiffy to Second or Third.

by Ogden Nash | |

Tableau at Twilight

 I sit in the dusk.
I am all alone.
Enter a child and an ice-cream cone.
A parent is easily beguiled By sight of this coniferous child.
The friendly embers warmer gleam, The cone begins to drip ice cream.
Cones are composed of many a vitamin.
My lap is not the place to bitamin.
Although my raiment is not chinchilla, I flinch to see it become vanilla.
Coniferous child, when vanilla melts I’d rather it melted somewhere else.
Exit child with remains of cone.
I sit in the dusk.
I am all alone, Muttering spells like an angry Druid, Alone, in the dusk, with the cleaning fluid.

by Ogden Nash | |

The Solitary Huntsman

 The solitary huntsman
No coat of pink doth wear,
But midnight black from cap to spur
Upon his midnight mare.
He drones a tuneless jingle In lieu of tally-ho: “I’ll catch a fox And put him in a box And never let him go.
” The solitary huntsman, He follows silent hounds.
No horn proclaims his joyless sport, And never a hoofbeat sounds.
His hundred hounds, his thousands, Their master’s will they know: To catch a fox And put him in a box And never let him go.
For all the fox’s doubling They track him to his den.
The chase may fill a morning, Or threescore years and ten.
The huntsman never sated Screaks to his saddlebow, “I’ll catch another fox And put him in a box And never let him go.

by Ogden Nash | |

The Squab

 Toward a better world I contribute my modest smidgin;
I eat the squab, lest it become a pigeon.