Thursday, October 30, 2014

Loving The English Language

Today I just finished a large tome of Ogden Nash’s (ehem) ... poetry.  Many of today’s generation do not know of Nash, his poetry or his humor.  So, for all those out there who love words, but often bump up against the strangeness of English grammar, here is my small attempt to rehabilitate Ogden Nash to Generations X, Y, and Z, and to lighten your day with a tidbit of humor. 


English is a language than which none is sublimer,
But it presents certain difficulties for the rhymer.
There are no rhymes for orange or silver
Unless liberties you pilfer.
I was once slapped by a young lady named Miss Coringe,
And the only reason I was looking at her that way,
she represented a rhyme for orange.
I suggest that some painter do a tormented mural
On the perversity of the English plural,
Because perhaps the rhymer’s greatest distress
Is caused by the letter s.
Oh, what a tangled web the early grammarians spun!
The singular verb has an s and the singular noun has none.
The rhymer notes this fact and ponders without success on it,
And moves on to find that his plural verb has dropped the s and
his plural noun has grown an s on it.
Many a budding poet has abandoned his career
Unable to overcome this problem: that while the ear hears, the ears hear.
Yet he might have had the most splendiferous of careers
If only the s’s came out even and he could tell us what his ears hears.
However, I am happy to say that out from the bottom of this
Pandora’s box there flew a butterfly, not a moth,
The darling, four-letter word d-o-t-h, which is pronounced duth,
although here we pronounce it doth.
Pronounce?  Let jubilant rhymers pronounce it loud and clear,
Because when they can’t sing that their ear hear they can
legitimately sing that their ear doth hear.(1)

Lets think  together again, soon.


1.     Ogden Nash, Selected Poetry of Ogden Nash: 650 Rhymes, Verses, Lyrics, and Poems (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 1995), p. 681.

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