A STASH OF OGDEN NASH (8/19/02–5/19/71)

He was born and bred in the town of Rye
Which is said to be in the state of N. Y.
His forebears, ’tis writ, founded Nashville, Tennessee….
Though I admit, you couldn’t prove it by me.
Whatever the bit, he grew up by and by;
He had a dry wit and wrote verse that was wry —
For which he became famous before he did die.
Yes, he died on this date in nineteen seventy-one.
His life made us smile, but his death was less fun.

When I was growing up, Ogden Nash was a particular favorite of mine. In addition to writing over a dozen books, his poems appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies. Here’s a selection of four from my collection of yore:

There was a young belle of Old Natchez
Whose garments were always in patches.
When comment arose
On the state of her clothes,
She drawled, When Ah itches, Ah scratches!

THE PURIST

I give you now Professor Twist,
A conscientious scientist.
Trustees exclaimed, “He never bungles!”
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile.
“You mean,” he said, “A crocodile.”

THE PERFECT HUSBAND

He tells you when you’ve got on too much lipstick
And helps you with your girdle when your hips stick.

A child need not be very clever
To learn that “Later” means “Never.”

Nash could also write seriously good songs. Among them (as lyricist with composer Kurt Weill) was SPEAK LOW for the 1943 Broadway musical ONE TOUCH OF VENUS:

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8 comments on “A STASH OF OGDEN NASH (8/19/02–5/19/71)

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the smashing good poems by Ogden Nash.
    Although I wonder, did he ever eat corned beef and hash?

    I liked the song SPEAK LOW from the Broadway musical. I do think I saw this made into a movie with different leading lady, perhaps it was Rita Hayworth. I remembered watching Mary Martin as Peter Pan. Sat on the floor watching her on the old black and white television with my two younger brothers. However, I did not know how beautiful Martin was until I saw the video you posted.

    Thank you for this very informative post, the Nash poems, the video and the sweet childhood memory. mistermuse you made my nightly sojourn very entertaining.

    Like

  2. mistermuse says:

    You’re right, Michaeline – the musical was made into a movie in 1948, however the leading lady was Ava Gardner. The movie was not as critically well received as the Broadway play.

    I agree about Mary Martin. She was never more beautiful than she appears in this clip, but what surprised me even more was how beautiful her voice was when she sang SPEAK LOW. I have records of her singing in later productions such as SOUTH PACIFIC and PETER PAN, and there’s no comparison with her earlier 1943 voice.

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  3. Don Frankel says:

    I know this song and I always loved it. For some reason I always associated it with Richard Rogers. Maybe because Mary Martin sang it. But you guys had me searching over the internet looking up the Play and the Movie. I kept replaying the song here while I did.

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    • mistermuse says:

      It’s too bad Nash didn’t write lyrics for more musicals after ONE TOUCH OF VENUS. If SPEAK LOW is any indication, he could have contributed much to our legacy of great show tunes.

      Like

  4. arekhill1 says:

    Few people have fun dying. It’s why I object to the practice.

    Like

  5. mistermuse says:

    I’m not exactly looking forward to the prospect myself. Hopefully that elusive Fountain of Youth will finally be discovered before that happens.

    Like

  6. BroadBlogs says:

    Hate to say that I’ve heard of Ogden Nash but never known much about him. I have to check him out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. GP Cox says:

    Nash always brings a smile to my face.

    Liked by 1 person

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