Thursday, March 12, 2009
Moyers and Lithgow on Ogden Nash
"...One of the reasons why I love Nash is, to the extent I write poetry at all, I write daffy doggerel for little children. But Ogden Nash is kind of my patron saint. " Said John Lithgow on a recent episode of Bill Moyers Journal .
Moyers also wonders aloud what it would be like to have Nash and Shakespeare together:
BILL MOYERS: I've often-I've wondered sometimes if Shakespeare might, where ever the great poets gather, be sitting on a corner with Ogden Nash. Comparing their almost mischievous view of life that reflects itself in different...(Lithgow cuts him off )
Clearly Moyers holds Nash in high regard.
While Lithgow reveres Shakespeare, surprisingly he characterizes Nash's work as 'doggerel'. and presumptively places himself on par with Nash as a poet. Me thinks the actor doth presume too much. Lithgow closes the Nash segment with a garrulous interpretation of "No Doctors Today, Thank You."
"They tell me that euphoria is the feeling of feeling wonderful, well,
today, I feel euphorian,
Today I have the agility of a Greek god and the appetite of a Victorian.
Yes, today I may even go forth without my galoshes,
Today, I am a swashbuckler, would anybody like me to buckle any
This is my euphorian day,
I will ring welkins and before anybody answers I will run away.
I will tame me a caribou
And bedeck it with marabou.
I will pen me my memoirs.
Ah youth, youth! What euphorian days them was!
I wasn't much of a hand for the boudoirs,
I was generally to be found where the food was.
Does anybody want any flotsam?
Does anybody want any jetsam?
I can getsam.
I can play chopsticks on the Wurlitzer,
I can speak Portuguese like a Berlitzer.
I can don or doff my shoes without tying or untying the laces because I
am wearing moccasins,
And I practically know the difference between serums and antitoccasins.
Kind people, don't think me purse-proud, don't set me down as
I'm just a little euphorious."
Copyright © by Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt.
BILL MOYERS: Oh, I love that. Euphorious. A word without meaning, but which is invested with feeling. You get it, even if you don't get it, right?
JOHN LITHGOW: Yeah. He just loved music. He loved to almost caricature language.
You can watch the entire episode and read the transcript here . The poem is read at about the 15 minute mark of the second half of the video.