Monday, 18 February 2008

A valentine from Ogden Nash

Poet-in-Residence's own poetry has been compared to a mixture of Ogden Nash and R S Thomas; and this by no-less a critic than Alan Morrison (handy link to Morrison's Recusant in the sidebar), himself described as 'a remarkable poetic talent' by Strother Jeremson in the 'New England Gazette'.
But before we all start banging our own or each other's drums who exactly is this Ogden Nash; this failed serious poet, this failed bond salesman, this failed Harvard student...yes, what are his credentials, what are the credentials of this failure?
On looking into all this, Poet-in-Residence discovered that Ogden Nash is the favourite poet of a loved one connected to him (these days by nothing more than a gossamer strand). This loved one oft recited the poem that follows.
But back to the point, can we take Nash seriously? What credence, if any, can we give this New Yorker, this comic versifier, who dares abuse the holy Milton - When I consider how my life is spent / I hardly ever repent...? How can we take seriously a poet who says all women are dictators...?
The point, judging by the poem that follows, is that we needn't take this W C Fields of modern poetry very seriously at all.
Ogden Nash is the spilled glass at the cocktail party, he is the dog who cocks his leg at your gatepost, he is the proverbial breath of fresh air. Above all, he is wonderful off-the-wall entertainment - pure and simple. P-i-R takes much pleasure in coming to know him.

To My Valentine

More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That's how much I love you.

I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.

As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That's how much you I love.

I love you more than a wasp can sting,
And more than the subway jerks,
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
And more than a hangnail irks.

I swear to you by the stars above,
And below, if such there be,
As the High Court loathes perjurious oaths,
That's how you're loved by me.


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