O. Nash 

A Tribute to the Poet, Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

"... my field -- the minor idiocies of humanity"   

    On Other Children 
    To a Small Boy Standing on my Shoes While I am Wearing Them   

    Let’s straighten this out, my little man, 
    And reach an agreement if we can. 
    I entered your door as an honored guest. 
    My shoes are shined and my trousers are pressed, 
    And I won’t stretch out and read you the funnies 
    And I won’t pretend that we’re Easter bunnies. 
    If you must get somebody down on the floor, 
    What in the hell are your parents for? 
    I do not like the things that you say 
    And I hate the games that you want to play. 
    No matter how frightfully hard you try, 
    We’ve little in common, you and I. 
    The interest I take in my neighbor’s nursery 
    Would have to grow, to be even cursory, 
    And I would that performing sons and nephews 
    Were carted away with the daily refuse, 
    And I hold that frolicsome daughters and nieces 
    Are ample excuse for breaking leases. 
    You may take a sock at your daddy’s tummy 
    Or climb all over your doting mummy, 
    But keep your attentions to me in check, 
    Or, sonny boy, I will wring your neck. 
    A happier man today I’d be 
    Had someone wrung it ahead of me. 

    Children's Party 

    May I join you in the doghouse, Rover? 
    I wish to retire till the party's over. 
    Since three o'clock I've done my best 
    To entertain each tiny guest; 
    My conscience now I've left behind me, 
    And if they want me, let them find me. 
    I blew their bubbles, I sailed their boats, 
    I kept them from each other's throats. 
    I told them tales of magic lands, 
    I took them out to wash their hands. 
    I sorted their rubbers and tied their laces, 
    I wiped their noses and dried their faces. 
    Of similarities there's lots 
    Twixt tiny tots and Hottentots. 
    I've earned repose to heal the ravages 
    Of these angelic-looking savages. 
    Oh, progeny playing by itself 
    Is a lonely little elf, 
    But progeny in roistering batches 
    Would drive St. Francis from here to Natchez. 
    Shunned are the games a parent proposes; 
    They prefer to squirt each other with hoses, 
    Their playmates are their natural foemen 
    And they like to poke each other's abdomen. 
    Their joy needs another woe's to cushion it, 
    Say a puddle, and someone littler to push in it. 
    They observe with glee the ballistic results 
    Of ice cream with spoons for catapults, 
    And inform the assembly with tears and glares 
    That everyone's presents are better than theirs. 
    Oh, little women and little men, 
    Someday I hope to love you again, 
    But not till after the party's over, 
    So give me the key to the doghouse, Rover. 

Return to: Selected Poems by OgdenNash