Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Ogden Nash Christmas


December 1st
I remember Yule
(:30 second preview)






December 2nd
Christmas Hash
(Excerpt)
"Tiny reindeer hooves are drumming,
Listen, Santa Clause is coming!
See his tummy bulge and billow!
All her cotton, as she feared...






December 3rd
Poem for the Children's Aid Society of Maryland
(1942)

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat.
But how about the children, have you taken thought of that?
What about the little boy that lives down the lane,
Ragged in the snowstorm, whistling in the rain?
What about the little girl the other side of town?
There's no one she can run to, and her world is falling down.
Dead father, drunken father, father gone away,
Sick mother, no mother, think of them today.
These are the lost ones, little ones alone.
These too are Maryland, these are our own.
Christmas is coming, and shall they be dismayed?
Send a Merry Christmas check to the Children's Aid.

Nash was a former President and long time board member of the Children's Aid Society.


December 4th
Nutcracker Suite
(:30 second preview)














December 5th
Scrooge Rides Again
(Excerpt)

Backward, turn backward, O Time, you old ghoul,
Make me a child again just for one Yule;
Reverse, an if please you, the flow of the river,
Let me be a receiver instead of a giver;
Tuck me cozily into a wee trundle bed
As visions of sugarplums dance through my head,
Which would be a superior substitute for
The seasonal nightmare of yore and Dior.
Please provide for this Christmas alternative symbols
To replace Lord and Taylor, and Macy's and Gimbel's;


December 6th
The Three Little Christmas Carols
(Excerpt from The New Yorker 12/22/34)

...And he never pinched any more pennies or skinned any more flints.
So remember, everybody, that you will be gladder but wiser
If you stop being a miser,
And I hope none of us here will have to be haunted by ghosts to remind
us that Christmas is a specially nice time to be alive,
And I wish you all a very merry one, and a very happy 1935.

December 7th
An Untold Adventure of Santa Claus
(:30 second preview)












December 8th
The Miraculous Countdown
(Excerpt)

Faustus shouted with joy hysterical,
And was then struck dumb as he watched a miracle.
He gazed aghast at his handiwork
As every experiment went berserk.
The bacteria, freed from their mother mold,
Settled down to cure the common cold.
Distant islanders sang Hosanna
As nuclear fall-out turned to manna.
Rockets, missiles and satellite
Formed a flaming legend across the night.
From Cape Canaveral clear to the Isthmus
The monsters spelled out Merry Christmas,
Penitent monsters whose fiery breath
Was rich with hope instead of death.
Faustus, the clumsiest of men,
Had butter-fingered a job again.
I've told you his head was far from level;
He thought he had sold his soul to the devil,
When he'd really sold it, for heaven's sake,
To his guardian angel by mistake.
When geniuses all in every nation
Hasten us towards obliteration,
Perhaps it will take the dolts and geese
To drag us backward into peace.


December 9th
Christmas Card
(1959)



December 10th
The Abominable Snowman


I’ve never seen an abominable snowman,
I’m hoping not to see one,
I’m also hoping, if I do,
That it will be a wee one.



December 11th
I'm a Pleasure to Shop For
(:30 second preview)







December 12th
Poem for the Children's Aid Society of Maryland
(1942)

Tonight's December thirty-first
Something is about to burst.
The clock is crouching, dark and small.
Like a time bomb in the wall.
Midnight whistles, loud and clear.
Duck! Here comes another year.

P.S. It's not their fault, but just their luck,
Some children have no place to duck.
That is why this plea is made;
Remember, please, the Children's Aid.





December 13th
December New England Coast
(Excerpt)

...Gloomy and damp the dark sky overhangs,
Mirrored below upon the shifting waves.
Rejoicing as they bare their whitecap fangs
Snapping at every lonely gull who braves
Their dripping jaws upon his wheeling course,
And shrieks disdainful at their measured force...

Written as a student at St. Georges, Middletown, RI



December 14th
Carnival of the Animals
(Excerpt)

INTRODUCTION

Camille Saint-Saens
Was wracked with pains,
When people addressed him,
As Saint-Saens.
He held the human race to blame,
Because it could not pronounce his name,
So, he turned with metronome and fife,
To glorify other kinds of life,
Be quiet please - for here begins
His salute to feathers, fur and fins.

'Carnival of the Animals' is a perennial choice for Christmas concerts. See an interactive exhibit of this work here.


December 15th
The Christmas That Almost Wasn't
(:30 second audio preview)




December 16th

"People can’t concentrate properly on blowing other people to pieces if their minds are poisoned by thoughts suitable to the twenty-fifth of December." ~Ogden Nash



December 17th
The Unpublished Adventures of Santa Claus
(Page 1 of 14 page poem in Family Circle magazine.)




December 18th
Christmas Glass



December 19th
Santa Go Home
(Excerpt)


December 20th
Christmas Card
(1959)



December 21st
I'll eat my Split Level Turkey in the Breezeway
(Excerpt)

A lady I know disapproves of the vulgarization of Christmas; she believes that Christmas should be governed purely by spiritual and romantic laws;
She says all she wants for Christmas is no more suggestive songs about Santa Claus.
Myself, I am more greedy if less cuddle-y.
And being of '02 vintage I am perforce greedy fuddy duddily,
So my own Christmas could be made glad
Less by the donation of anything new than just by the return of a few things I once had.



December 22nd
The Boy who Laughed at Santa Claus (:30 second preview)





Listen to a recent NPR story about this poem here


December 23rd
All's Noel that Ends Noel
Or, Incompatibility is the Spice of Christmas
(Excerpt from The New Yorker 12/14/57)

Do you know Mrs. Millard Fillmore Revere?
On her calendar, Christmas comes three hundred and sixty-five times a year.
Consider Mrs. Revere's Christmas spirit; no one can match it -
No, not Tiny Tim or big Bob Cratchit.
Even on December 26th it reveals no rifts;
She is already compiling her lists of next year's gifts.





December 24th
A Carol for Children
(:30 second audio preview)

First verses:








A Carol for Children
(Excerpt)


Last Verses:

Only the children clasp His hand;
His voice speaks low to them,
And still for them the shining band
Wings over Bethlehem.

God rest you merry, Innocents,
While innocence endures,
A sweeter Christmas than we to ours
May you bequeath to yours.

Christmas

"Merry Christmas Nearly Everybody!" ~ Ogden Nash

All Poems Copyright © by Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt

5 comments:

Marsha said...

Thank you! So good to see all these. Merry Christmastide, and a happy new year to you!

Pigtown-Design said...

hi... i was director of development at the successor agency to children's aid, and about 10 years ago, we used that poem as the centerpiece for our fundraising appeal!

JohnBrady said...

@ Marsha, You're welcome! Cheers!!

@Pigtown-Design, Thanks for letting me know. I was so glad to uncover the Children's Aid poems in a old copy of 'The Messenger' posted online and learn of Nash's involvement with the society. I hope his work appealed to donors. He also wrote a poem for St. Andrews by the Sea in NH for these purposes which you can read here

Amy said...

"Merry Christmas, Nearly Everybody," ha! A delightful collection. :)

barirob said...

Hi! I'm trying to figure out how to get in touch with Frances Nash Smith to ask for copyright permission for some poems that we would like to set to music. Do you have any contact information that you could share?

Thank you!

 
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