Humour and Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash and Humour

Humour is an important ingredient in any text. In the main it offers lightness and the ability to create a smile in the reader. This is not always the case of course – ‘black humour’ can invoke negative emotions as well as humour – especially if humour is at the expense of something or somebody. In such cases it can be quite damaging and if acceptable perhaps only acceptable at a cost and always at the discernment of the reader. Ogden Nash is always of an acceptable nature.

From Wikipedia … Nash’s poetry was often a playful twist of an old saying or poem. For one example, he expressed this playfulness in what is perhaps his most famous rhyme, a twist on Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees” (1913).

Song of the Open Road

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I’ll never see a tree at all.

Selecting more of his work …

The Turtle lives’ twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.

There was an old man of Calcutta,
Who coated his tonsils with butta,
Thus converting his snore
From a thunderous roar
To a soft, oleaginous mutta.

The Middle

When I remember bygone days
I think how evening follows morn;
So many I loved were not yet dead,
So many I love were not yet born
.
Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971)

from Wikipedia …

Frederic Ogden Nash … was an American poet well known for his light verse. At the time of his death in 1971, The New York Times said his “droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country’s best-known producer of humorous poetry”.

On Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash is a humour-US poet I admire
His rhymes are often quite exemplar
For, if a word he cannot take
A new one he soon doth make
Yes, Ogden Nash is a poet quite unique-lar!

Richard Scutter

The humour of Ogden Nash

Looking at the humour of this well know player of the word …

– from Wikipedia …

Frederic Ogden Nash … was an American poet well known for his light verse. At the time of his death in 1971, The New York Times said his “droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country’s best-known producer of humorous poetry”.

Born: August 19, 1902, Rye, New York, United States
Died: May 19, 1971, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Some of his quotes …
A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.
Middle age is when you’ve met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else.
There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, and that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all.
Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.
People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up.

His poetic style … Nash was best known for surprising, pun-like rhymes, sometimes with words deliberately misspelled for comic effect, as in his retort to Dorothy Parker’s humorous dictum, Men seldom make passes/At girls who wear glasses:

A girl who is bespectacled
She may not get her nectacled

He often wrote in an exaggerated verse form with pairs of lines that rhyme, but are of dissimilar length and irregular meter:

Once there was a man named Mr. Palliser and he asked his wife, May I be a gourmet?
And she said, You sure may,

Nash’s poetry was often a playful twist of an old saying or poem. For one example, he expressed this playfulness in what is perhaps his most famous rhyme, a twist on Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees” (1913):

I think that I shall never see
a poem lovely as a tree

which becomes …

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree

And then he adds …

Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I’ll never see a tree at all.

He is such a witty, clever, fun-word fellow … or putting it in the Ogden smash-Nash vernacular –

Ogden Nash is a humour-US poet I admire
his rhymes are often quite exemplar
for, if a word he cannot take
a new one he soon doth make
yes, Ogden Nash is a poet quite unique-lar!

Ogden Nash on Wikipedia