Tag: Ogden Nash

..something completely different

At the 42 group this month (glad we made the most of it as it’s probably going to be a while…) by special request of one of the regulars we had an evening of poetry which makes us smile or laugh. It was just lovely: a different kind of light in the darkness. Wendy Cope featured a lot, as you might imagine, and her ‘Poem on the theme of humour’ reminded us of how po-faced it’s possible to be about Serious Literature and the Function of Art. ((I’d love to give you a link to the poem, but I can only find it on The Telegraph‘s site and I’ll to leave it to you as to whether you want to get involved in those particular strong toils…)

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‘there’s nothing either good or bad,

but thinking makes it so’. A trio of poems which see the coming of the new year from very different places. First, we have Ogden Nash’s ‘Good riddance, but now what‘, which finds the poet in characteristically wry mood. The apparent cosiness of the opening invitation—’Come children, gather round my knee’—is soon dispelled with the imagery of something ‘about to burst/… like a time bomb in the hall’. It brings to mind Dorothy Parker’s notorious way of greeting visitors or answering the phone: ‘What fresh hell is this?’. I love the fact that here Nash has the clock ‘crouching, dark and small’—small, as a bomb is, in relation to the size of the destruction it can wreak. Assume brace position. Be ready to duck. I can certainly recognise in myself a mood where I look at the future with that sort of attitude.

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