by Timothy Lane 12/12/13
Ogden Nash wasn’t the first or last writer of comic verse, but no one ever did it better. Here are some of my favorites, starting with what I believe are the first two I ever read, followed by one that I think of often these days, and some other oldies-but-goodies.
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.
The panther is like a leopard,
Except it hasn’t been peppered.
Should you behold a panther crouch,
Prepare to say Ouch,
Better yet, if called by a panther,
The rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he’s not a feast.
Farewell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I’ll stare at something less prepoceros.
Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good.
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.
A glossina morsitans bit rich Aunt Betsy.
Tsk, tsk, tsetse.
The parsnip, children, I repeat,
Is simply an anemic beet.
Some people call the parsnip edible;
Myself, I find this claim incredible.
One would be in less danger
From the wiles of the stranger
If one’s own kin and kith
Were more fun to be with.
The one-l lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-l llama,
He’s a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
I met a traveler from an antique show,
His pockets empty, but his eyes aglow.
Upon his back, and now his very own,
He bore two vast and trunkless legs of stone.
Amid the torrents of collector’s jargon
I gathered he had found himself a bargain,
A permanent conversation-piece post-prandial,
Certified genuine early Ozymandial,
And when I asked him how he could be sure,
He showed me P. B. Shelley’s signature.
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