Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was one of the great writers of American humorous poetry, noted for couplets or other poems that rhyme, but the lines are of different length and irregular meter
. He lived in Baltimore most of his life, and included several paeans to it in his work. Also noted are his series of poems set to Camille Saint-Saens' "Carnival Of The Animals".
He was also verified by the Guinness World Records
as having composed the shortest published poem: "On the Antiquity of Fleas", which consists of the single line "Adam had 'em."
Tropes in Ogden Nash's work:
- Analogy Backfire: The poem "The Romantic Age", about a lovestruck teenage girl who:
Presses lips and tosses head,
Declares she's not too young to wed.
Informs you pertly you forget
Do not argue, do not shout;
Remind her how that one turned out.
- Asshole Victim: In the first verse "Polterguest, my Polterguest", the narrator claims such exasperation as to tempt him to throw the bitch under a train. In the last verse, we learn that he has already tried, unsuccessfully, to drown her.
- But Liquor Is Quicker: "Reflections on Ice-Breaking" is the Trope Namer.
- Ceiling Banger:
We might love the people upstairs wonderous
If, instead of above us, they lived just underus.
- Least Rhymable Word:
There are no rhymes for orange or silver,
Unless liberties you pilfer.
- Little Did I Know: "Don't Guess, Let Me Tell You".
- Missing Floor: "A Tale of the Thirteenth Floor".
- Painful Rhyme: Though done deliberately, and often lampshaded by changes in the spelling.
- Romantic Hyperbole:
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....
- Spotlight-Stealing Title:
"The Self-Effacement of Electra Thorne":
As for egocentricity, good heavens!
What's egocentric about wanting the marquee to read
OPHELIA AND HAMLET
- Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: "The Clean Platter"
Some singers sing of ladies' eyes
And some of ladies' lips,
Refined ones praise their ladylike ways,
And coarse ones hymn their hips.
- Termite Trouble/Floorboard Failure: "The Termite"
Some primal termite knocked on wood
Tasted it, and found it good
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.
- The So-Called Coward: "Custard the Dragon" is about a woman named Belinda who lived with a kitten, a mouse, a dog, and a dragon. Counter-intuitively, the kitten, mouse, and dog were all described as being very brave, while the dragon was a coward. However, when a pirate broke into the house and threatened Belinda, the three supposedly 'brave' animals ran and hid, and Custard stood his ground, fought the pirate, and ate him.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: "Polterguest, My Polterguest".
The Wendigo, the Wendigo
I saw it just a friend ago
Last night it lurked in Canada
Tonight on your veranda!