Ogden Nash

Money for old rope
or, Give him an inch and he'll lose the metre
It has come to my notice that many people are prepared to part with their hard-earned cash
For verse like this, and since it looks as though there's nothing to it, the time is ripe for yours truly to have a bash.
Mr Nash's philosophy seems to be that as long as you make it rhyme who gives a damn if it scans?
Occasionally rhythm creeps in by mistake; I'm sure it's not part of his plans.
If he feels the need to make a line extremely long, as long as this if not longer still, he will do it without compunction or a second thought,
And make the next one short.
The entertainment comes from him finding rhymes for words the existence of rhymes for which would seem improbable.
So far he remains undefeated, and perhaps this record from him is unrobbable.
Personally I feel his many fans are in need of a bit of admonishing
For although his rhymes are undoubtedly fun I don't often find them astonishing.
Does he really think the knack of using words like "wapiti"
Is his private property?
But to give him his due he'd not shrink from the ultimate challenge, an orange.
He would calmly point out that if a porringer holds porridge, the act of holding it must be to porringe.
Lest the broth of this genre of verse be spoilt by an excess of cooks
Be advised that, effortless though it appears, it's harder to write than it looks.

Ogden Nash (1902-71) was a master of verbal dexterity and humour, who showed a fine disregard for poetic form and convention. As well as longer poems (not altogether unlike the above) he wrote a lot of short poems about animals, which I've also tried to ape here.

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Bob Newman 2004. All rights reserved.

This page last updated 28/11/2004