He was an extraordinary poet, captivating both the masses and the critics. With his unique style of rhyming, he created a legacy that remains unmatched. Ogden Nash, the master wordsmith, played with language, bending and twisting words to create mesmerizing rhymes. His poems were sometimes whimsical, sometimes contemplative, but always entertaining.
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A Quirkiness All His Own
Nash’s playful nature shone through in his poems. He had a knack for crafting lines that were surprisingly long or unexpectedly short, yet always perfectly rhymed. Take, for example, these lines from “Kindly Unhitch That Star, Buddy”:
“In short, the world is filled with people trying to achieve success,
And half of them think they’ll get it by saying No and half of them by saying Yes.
And if all the ones who say No said Yes, and vice versa, such is the fate of humanity that ninety-nine percent of them still wouldn’t be any better off than they were before.”
Nash’s poems were like a breath of fresh air, providing relaxation and amusement. You could flip open his collection, “Candy Is Dandy: The Best Of Ogden Nash,” to any page and be instantly entertained. It was a temporary escape from the worries of life.
Delight in Every Line
“Candy Is Dandy” derived its name from one of Nash’s most famous poems, “Reflections on Ice-breaking”:
The introduction to this collection, written by the late Anthony Burgess, captures Nash’s essence. It reads:
“He uses lines, sometimes of considerable length, that are colloquial and prosy
And at the end presents you with a rhyme, like a twin-flowered posy
Or really, when you come to think of it, a pair of dwarf’s gloves.
This bringing together of the informal and the formal is what his genius chiefly loves.
I am trying to imitate him here, but he is probably quite inimitable.
My own talent for this sort of thing being limited and his virtually illimitable.”
A Blend of Whimsy and Wisdom
Most of Nash’s poems may seem whimsical at first glance, but they often carry profound observations about life’s joys and challenges. They have the power to make you pause and reflect. Consider these lines from “Family Court”:
“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.”
Nash’s genius extended beyond human experiences, as his poems about animals demonstrate. From the mischievous camel to the pensive hippopotamus, his animal-themed verses are simply delightful.
Nash’s repertoire even included limericks. Here are two of his charming creations:
“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.”
“There was an old man in a trunk
Who inquired of his wife, ‘Am I drunk?’
She replied with regret,
‘I’m afraid so, my pet.’
And he answered, ‘It’s just as I thunk.'”
A Voice of Rebellion
Amidst his whimsy and wit, Nash also exhibited a rebellious spirit. His poems often had an anti-establishment undertone. In his poem “I Yield To My Learned Brother or Is There A Candlestick Maker In The House?,” Nash criticized the professional class:
“The doctor gets you when you are born,
The preacher, when you marry.
And the lawyer lurks with costly clerks
If too much on you carry.
Professional men, they have no cares;
Whatever happens, they get theirs.
You can’t say When
To professional men,
For it’s always When to they;
They go out and golf
With the big bad wolf
In the most familiar way.
Hard times for them contain no terrors;
Their income springs from human errors.”
A Blend of Laughter and Insight
Nash’s ability to blend humor and wisdom was evident in his poem “Bankers Are Just Like Anybody Else, Except Richer”:
“This is a song to celebrate banks,
Because they are full of money and you go into them and all you hear is clinks and clanks,
Or maybe a sound like the wind in the trees on the hills,
Which is the rustling of the thousand dollar bills.
Most bankers dwell in marble halls,
Which they get to dwell in because they encourage deposits and discourage withdralls,
And particularly because they all observe one rule which woe betides the banker who fails to heed it,
Which is you must never lend money to anybody unless they don’t need it.”
Nash’s poems were not just lighthearted entertainment. They touched on a wide range of human emotions, allowing readers to see the world from a new perspective. His verses served as a reminder to laugh, embrace life’s ups and downs, and find solace in the absurd.
Ogden Nash was a poet who brought joy and laughter to countless people. Whether appreciated for his whimsical humor or admired as a philosopher, his talent and creativity continue to resonate. So, open the pages of “Candy Is Dandy” and allow Nash’s unique perspective to brighten your day.
[E-E-A-T]: Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, Experience
[YMYL]: Your Money or Your Life