HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Ogden Nash, born 19 August 1902
“Middle age is when you’re sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn’t for you.”
A prolific poet who wrote over 500 pieces of verse, Ogden Nash was America’s best known humorous poet. He began to think in terms of rhyme even when a small boy, and as a young man he found a job writing advertisements for street cars. He also worked on the staff of The New Yorker. His first collection of poems was published in 1931, and it shows his anti-establishment feeling. However, he was always well regarded by the literary establishment, and he worked on comic radio shows, gave lectures and wrote lyrics for musicals.
He wrote many animal poems (including some for Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals), noted for their odd and off-kilter rhymes. An example is:
“Who wants my jellyfish? / I’m not sellyfish.”
He also liked taking other poets’ words and playing with them. Joyce Kilmer’s poem Trees begins with the lines,
“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.”
And Nash added
“Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I’ll never see a tree at all.”
His writing is great fun and he gave pleasure to millions of readers, so celebrate his birthday by reading some of his light verse. Here’s a short one for you:
“The truth I do not stretch or shove
When I state that the dog is full of love.
I’ve also found, by actual test,
A wet dog is the lovingest.”
Ogden Nash died on 19 May 1971, aged 68.
Are you familiar with Ogden Nash’s gorgeous poems? Tell me in the comment area below.
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