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« Igor Stravinsky: "I surround myself with obstacles. . ." | Main | On Thomas Gray’s “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" [by David Lehman] »

January 18, 2022

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I did not know Nash was lyricist for "Speak Low." Did you know that he shared a fence with my Aunt Ruth at Cross Keys in Baltimore? The occasion of their meetings was taking trash and garbage to the pails lined against the fence. The conversation was fence talk generalities, punctuated by Ruth's possessive dachshund, Rudy. Ruth named her dogs after tyrants, Doberman Nero, German shepherd Ajax. Emperor Rudolph was the loudest. I have painted Ruth. Visit www.sagain.com and you will see Nash's blonde neighbor. ever S Again

& then there's Nash's Invocation , one of the greater American political satires. after decades do we get all the references? Does it matter the piece sure works.

Invocation
by Ogden Nash
( " Smoot Plans Tariff Ban on Improper Books " NEWS ITEM )

Senator Smoot (Republican, Ut.)
Is planning a ban on smut.
Oh rooti-ti-toot for Smoot of Ut.
And his reverent occiput.
Smite, Smoot, smite for Ut.,
Grit your molars and do your dut.,
Gird up your l-ns,
Smite h-p and th-gh,
We'll all be Kansas
By and by.

Smite, Smoot, for the Watch and Ward,
For Hiram Johnson and Henry Ford,
For Bishop Cannon and John D.Junior,
For Governor Pinchot of Pennsylvunia,

For John S. Sumner and Elder Hays
And possibly Edward L. Bernays,
For Orville Poland and Ella Boole,
For Mother Machree and the Shelton pool.
When smut's to be smitten
Smoot will smite
For G-d, for country,
And Fahrenheit.

Senator Smoot is an institute
Not to be bribed with pelf;
He guards our homes from erotic tomes
By reading them all himself.
Smite, Smoot, smite for Ut.,
They're smuggling smut from Balt. to Butte!
Strongest and sternest
Of your s-x
Scatter the scoundrels
From Can. to Mex.!

Smite, Smoot, for Smedley Butler,
For any good man by the name of Cutler,
Smite for the W.C.T.U.,
For Rockne's team and for Leader's crew,
For Florence Coolidge and Admiral Byrd,
For Billy Sunday and John D., Third,
For Grantland Rice and for Albie Booth,
For the Woman's Auxiliary of Duluth,
Smite, Smoot,
Be rugged and rough,
Smut if smitten
Is front-page stuff.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly

Radio

I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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