Friday, August 19, 2005

It is Past Three AM

It is past 3 a.m and I have only just returned from work. Ridiculous, really, especially since I don't like what I do very much and the past two days have been the very worst for a long time. I have spent most of time hitting my head against the wall called crazy clients but that is not quite the point of this post.

I bought a volume of Ogden Nash called
Candy is Dandy this weekend past. It has the most wonderful introduction by Anthony Burgess, another one of my favourite writers. Over the past two days, Nash has kept me from drowning in despair and what is to the honest eye, self-pity. I've come to realise that it is such a pity about cliches. There is usually so much truth in them... especially the cliches about laughter and happiness.

And moving back now to Mr. Nash, I should like very much to share a few of my current Nash favourites.

You and Me and P. B. Shelley

What is life? Life is stepping down a step or sitting in a chair.
And it isn't there.
Life is not having been told that the man has just waxed the floor.
It is pulling door marked PUSH and pushing doors marked PULL and not noticing signs which say PLEASE USE THE OTHER DOOR.
It is when you diagnose a sore throat as an unprepared geography lesson and send your child weeping to school only to be returned an hour later with spots that indubitably genuine.
It is a concert with a trombone soloist filling in for Yehudi Menuhin.
Were it not for frustration and humiliation
I suppose the human race would get ideas above its station.
Somebody once described Shelley as a beautiful and ineffective angel beating his wings against the void in vain,
Which is certainly describing with might and main.
But probably means that we are all brothers under our pelts,
And Shelley went around pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors marked PULL just like everybody else.


There was a brave girl of Connecticut
Who flagged the express with her petticut,
Which her elders defined
As presence of mind,
But a deplorable lack of ecticut.


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."

I love this guy!
Over this long weekend, I am going to make Mr. Nash's acquaintance much more intimately, I think.



Anonymous said...

Nash is jus great, true. Here is one that I particularly enjoy:

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs,
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me us.


SaidBack said...

Well done!
Nash has always been one of my fav poets.

Yours Truly...Conman said...

What makes you do what you don't enjoy doing very much?

GD said...

What makes her do what she doesn't enjoy doing very much? Let Mr Ogden Nash answer:

When people aren't asking questions
They're making suggestions
And when they're not doing one of those
They're either looking over your shoulder or stepping on your toes
And then as if that weren't enough to annoy you
They employ you.
Anybody at leisure
Incurs everybody's displeasure.
It seems to be very irking
To people at work to see other people not working,
So they tell you that work is wonderful medicine,
Just look at Firestone and Ford and Edison,
And they lecture you till they're out of breath or something
And then if you don't succumb they starve you to death or something.
All of which results in a nasty quirk:
That if you don't want to work you have to work to earn enough money so that you won't have to work.

luz de la luna said...

Thanks for sharing! I have never heard of his work before. Actually, to be honest I don't personally like it much. But... each to their own! I am glad you do and it kept you sane :-D

- Martin

the cowlick said...

Great post! I love the little quirks of life :)

Ubermensch said...

good good , have read him here and there, should sleep with him sometime.

i-me-moi said...

:-) incidently, your Majesty was the first person to introduce me to Ogden Nash. Enjoy, and some day I might find him too.

lakesidey said...

One of my favourites:

Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim
I wonder how we look to him.

Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us.
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.

Especially useful poem to think on when looking at oneself in the mirror, given that one has put on inordinate weight recently :((

SaidBack said...

He has some killer ones on creatures. Here's The Ant.

The ant has made himself illustrious.
Through constant industry industrious.
So what?
Would you be calm and placid
If you were full of formic acid?

Brian "Pumpkin" Dias said...

Prophets, as they say, are never recognized in their own homes. Known you for ages now...Knew you wrote reams and reams...Just wanted to say you write like a dream...Can't wait to see you in December and buy you some tomato soup.

Love you lottttts (Don't know if this is the forum for such mush, but very frankly, i don't give a damn)


. : A : . said...

Interesting pick of works from Nash. Good choice.

Words Worth said...

i gifted this book to a friend for her birthday recently. But the good child that i am, i didn't read it (just a little peek :-)). but will definitely borrow it.

meanwhile, here's my contribution to the collection in this comment's page (a lil long though):

The Tale of Custard the Dragon

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called him Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
and Blink said Weeck! which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.

But up jumped Custard snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm,
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets, but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim.
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pirate.

But presently up spoke little dog Mustard,
I'd been twice as brave if I hadn't been flustered.
And up spoke Ink and up spoke Blink,
We'd have been three times as brave, we think,
And Custard said, I quite agree
That everybody is braver than me.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio little pet dragon.

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

SaidBack said...

With all of us are belting out Nash's poetry, I won't have to buy any of his books. :D

finnegan said...

Nash is where one should go, especially when the blues have got a grip.

Jo said...

Great blog :)
And who wrote 'The Tale of Custard the Dragon' in the comments section?
I loved it!

Extempore said...

Am so glad you guys liked this post!

@Conman: Well, the bills have got to be paid, no? You remember my first post, right? The dreams are being chased. Some of them just take a little longer to materialise.

@Pepper: Majesty, have a whole load more you should read... the man is utterly brilliant. Thanks for posting The Ant.

@Luz de la Luna: Laughter in the middle of something infuriating is something I strongly recommend. One lives longer that way. :)

@Cowlick: The quirks are what makes the madness worth it, no?

@.:a:. : Am glad you liked them. Benjamin is among my favouritest Nash. :)

@Uber: Pls do! A great portion of the past few days has been spent in his company and I have no cause for complaint.

@Sprechen: :)

@Lakesidey, Pepper, Words Worth, NJ and GD: Thanks so much for sharing! :)

@Finnegan: Oh yes! :)

@Jo: Thanks for dropping by. Am glad you liked the blog and I do look forward to seeing you here again.

Extempore said...

@Brian: Sweet Christ B, I live in the prayer of the tomato soup! And the mush - coming from you - no matter which forum it is on, is VERY welcome. I am so glad you liked my writing... means a lot!

And sweetness, I love you too! *hug*

Geetanjali said...

Never read Ogden Nash, but did try my hand at Anthony Burgess The Clockwork Orange was definitely not my cuppa tea - Nash seems like it! :-)

Incidentally was this volume picked up frm the Strand sale - I vaguely remember seeing it there!

lakesidey said...

Long time no post, young lady. Should we blame Ogden or Brian?

Ubermensch said...

I meant sleeping with him metaphorically,Which dirty rascal has impregnated you into silence? :)

Extempore said...

@Geetanjali: Oh yes, Strand it was. :)! You really ought to try Nash - he's utterly gorgeous! And even as Clockwork Orange takes a little getting used to, don't give up on Burgess. Try Dead Man in Deptford which is so brilliant, it is blinding! You should also try The Devil's Mode which is a collection of short stories.

@Lakesidey: Nash has certainly been keeping me company but not stopping me from writing. That I did all by myself. :)

@Uber: LOL!!! Thank you, I needed that! :)

Isis said...

Among Nash's little ditties on creatures like the Octopus, Hippo, and Ant, which NJ and others have put for us here, I particularly like the Firefly:

The firefly's flame Is something for which science has no name
I can think of nothing eerier
Than flying around with an unidentified glow on a
person's posteerier.

isis said...

And the Turtle:

The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.