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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ogden Nash

For you romantics, St. Valentine’s Day is Thursday next.  Ogden Nash’s cynical poem is for those of us who roll our eyes at the manufactured mush from greeting cards.  The reverse passion in this poem plays tongue-in-cheek with those who must set aside just one day to say “I love you.”  And, with only one day to express ardor the poem simply must be crammed with vigor.  Translated it says, OK, I haven’t forgotten this silly day.  Yes, I love you on every other day, too.  But if you insist on a poem to prove it—here it is…

TO MY VALENTINE.  By Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971)

More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That's how much I love you.

I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.

As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That's how much you I love.

I love you more than a wasp can sting,
And more than the subway jerks,
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
And more than a hangnail irks.

I swear to you by the stars above,
And below, if such there be,
As the High Court loathes perjurious oathes,
That's how you're loved by me.
The following is very well written from Wikipedia:
Nash's poetry was often a playful twist of an old saying or poem. For one example, he expressed this playfulness in what is perhaps his most famous rhyme, a twist on Joyce Kilmer's verse: "I think that I shall never see / a poem lovely as a tree", which drops "billboard" in place of poem and adds, "Indeed, unless the billboards fall / I'll never see a tree at all." That same playfulness produced a number of often quoted quips, including "Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long" and "People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up."

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