Nonsense and other kinds of verse

Here’s where we store all the pieces of verse that we think are worth storing. It got cumbersome doing the same in my email. This is quite obviously a better idea, as we can share it with others who might be interested. This page is going to primarily have nonsense verse by various authors, mostly Ogden Nash and a few others. We can always add to this list, with your useful contribution. Click here to mail one of us with any good bit of verse you have. In keeping with the lighthearted mood of this blog, we will NOT accept flowery verse and serious poetry. We believe it’s easier to write poetry than to understand it, and we find no point in obscuring meaning with more and more words, especially if they aren’t nice-sounding together.

Here’s what we have:

  1. “The Muddlehead”, Ogden Nash
  2. “Jabberwocky”, by Lewis Caroll
  3. “To My Valentine”, Ogden Nash
  4. “ONW – Omit Needless Words”, Will Strunk
  5. “Verses to exhaust my stock of four-letter words” by George Starbuck
  6. “PG Wooster, Just as he Useter”, by Ogden Nash

The Muddlehead

This is one of my favourites. I first came across this in class 6 in my English Literature Reader. Quite a hunt to find it online, but ah, finally got it.

I knew a man from Petushkee
As muddleheaded as could be.

He always got mixed up with clothes;
He wore his mittens on his toes,
Forgot his collar in his haste,
And tied his tie around his waist.

What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!

They told him as he went about:
“You’ve got u’r coat on inside out!”
And when they saw his hat, they said:
“You’ve put a saucepan on your head!”

What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!

At lunch he scratched a piece of bread,
And spread some butter on his head.
He put his walking stick to bed,
And he stood in the rack instead.

What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!

He walked upto a tram one day
And climbed in very sprightly;
Conductor thought that he would pay,
Instead he said politely:

“Parding your beggon,
Kister Monductor,
I’m off for a week’s vacation;
I stop you to beg your cramway tar
As soon as we reach the station.”
Conductor got a fright
And didn’t sleep that nite.

What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!

He rushed into the first café:
“A railway ticket please, One way.”
And at the ticket office said:
“A slice of tea and a cup of bread.”

What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!

He passed the man collecting the fares,
And entered a carriage awaiting repairs,
That stood on a siding, all by itself.
Half of his luggage, he put on a shelf,
The rest on the floor, his coat on his lap
And settled himself for a bit of a nap.

All at once he raised his head,
“I must have been asleep”- he said.
“Hey, what stop is this?” he cried
“Petushkee,” a voice replied.

Once again he closed his eyes
And dreamt he was in Paradise.
When he woke, he looked about,
Raised the window and leaned out.

“I’ve seen this place before, I believe,
Is it Kharkov or is it Kiev?
Tell me where I am,” he cried.
“In Petushkee”, a voice replied.

And so again he settled down
And dreamt the world was upside down
When he woke, he looked about,
Raised the window and looked out.

“I seem to know this station too,

Is it Nalchik or Baku?
Tell me what its called,” he cried.
“Petushkee’ a voice replied.

Up he jumped: “It’s a crime!
I’ve been riding all this time,
And here I am where I began!
That’s no way to treat a man!’

What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!

Ogden Nash

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Jabberwocky

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!’
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought–
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
‘And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Lewis Carroll

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To My Valentine

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.

I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.

As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That’s how much you I love.

I love you more than a wasp can sting,
And more than the subway jerks,
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
And more than a hangnail irks.

I swear to you by the stars above,
And below, if such there be,
As the High Court loathes perjurious oathes,
That’s how you’re loved by me.

Ogden Nash

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ONW- Omit Needless Words

“Omit needless words!”
Said Strunk to White.
“You’re right,”
Said White,
“That’s nice
Advice.
But Strunk,
You’re drunk
With words —
Two-thirds
Of those
You chose
For that
Fiat
Would fill
The bill!

Would not
The thought
— The core —
Be more
Succinct
If shrinked
(Or shrunk)?”

Said Strunk:
“Good grief!
I’m brief
(I thought)
P’raps not …
Dear me!
Let’s see …
Okay!
Just say
‘Write tight!’
No fat
in that!”

“Quite right!”
Said White,
“Er — I mean ‘Quite!’
Or, simply, ‘Right!’ ”

Will Strunk

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Verses to Exhaust my stock of Four-Letter Words

From the ocean floors, where the necrovores
Of the zoöoögenous mud
Fight for their share, to the Andes where
Bullllamas thunder and thud,

And even thence to the heavens, whence
Archchurchmen appear to receive
The shortwave stations of rival nations
Of angels: “Believe! Believe!”

They battle, they battle—poor put-upon cattle,
Each waging, reluctantly,
That punitive war on the disagreeor
Which falls to the disagreeee.

George Starbuck

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PG Wooster, Just as he Useter
Bound to your bookseller, leap to your library,
Deluge your dealer with bakshish and bribary,
Lean on the counter and never say when,
Wodehouse and Wooster are with us again.

Flourish the fish-slice, your buttons unloosing,
Prepare for the fabulous browsing and sluicing,
And quote, til you’re known as the neighborhood nuisance,
The gems that illumine the browsance and sluicance.

Oh, fondle each gem, and after you quote it,
Kindly inform me just who wrote it.

Which came first, the egg or the rooster?
P.G.Wodehouse or Bertram Wooster?
I know hawk from handsaw, and Finn from Fiji,
But I can’t disentangle Bertram from PG.

I inquire in the school room, I ask in the road house,
Did Wodehouse write Wooster, or Wooster Wodehouse?
Bertram Wodehouse and PG Wooster,
They are linked in my mind like Simon and Schuster.

No matter which fumbled in ’41,
Or which the woebegone figure of fun.
I deduce how the faux pas came about,
It was clearly Jeeves’s afternoon out.

Now Jeeves is back, and my cheeks are crumply
From watching him glide through Steeple Bumpleigh.

Ogden Nash

Contributed by Empress of Blandings

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