Today wood s lot features the inimitable Ogden Nash, whose off-kilter verse delighted several generations of readers. I don’t know if he’s much quoted today aside from the immortal “Reflections On Ice Breaking” (“Candy/ Is dandy/ But liquor/ Is quicker”), which everybody attributes to Dorothy Parker anyway, but anyone with a taste for absurd rhymes, invented words, and a jaundiced viewpoint (all on display in the three-word “Further Reflections on Parsley”: “Parsley/ Is gharsley”) should investigate the trove at PoemHunter.com. I’ll limit myself to reproducing “Peekabo, I Almost See You,” which shows off the full range of his comic arsenal:

Middle-aged life is merry, and I love to lead it,
But there comes a day when your eyes are all right but your arm isn’t long enough to hold the telephone book where you can read it,
And your friends get jocular, so you go to the oculist,
And of all your friends he is the joculist,
So over his facetiousness let us skim,
Only noting that he has been waiting for you ever since you said Good evening to his grandfather clock under the impression that it was him,
And you look at his chart and it says SHRDLU QWERTYOP, and you say Well, why SHRDNTLU QWERTYOP? and he says one set of glasses won’t do.
You need two.
One for reading Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason and Keats’s “Endymion” with,
And the other for walking around without saying Hello to strange wymion with.
So you spend your time taking off your seeing glasses to put on your reading glasses, and then remembering that your reading glasses are upstairs or in the car,
And then you can’t find your seeing glasses again because without them on you can’t see where they are.
Enough of such mishaps, they would try the patience of an ox,
I prefer to forget both pairs of glasses and pass my declining years saluting strange women and grandfather clocks.
—Ogden Nash


  1. Cheers for posting that.

  2. For some reason, I never tire of quoting this one:
    God in His wisdom made the fly,
    And then forgot to tell us why.

  3. It appears that Nash’s oculist had never heard of Ben Franklin’s marvelous invention of bifocals.

  4. I tried bifocals but didn’t like ’em, so I have a collection of half a dozen or so, which so far (knock wood) I have managed not to lose.

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