1891 Corbett vs Jackson

1891 Corbett vs Jackson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I Must Tell You About My Novel. Grandfather Poems.

Sometimes our relatives are special just because they’re part of our family, not because they’re famous.

An affectionate look at a normal family.


I Must Tell You About My Novel


My grandpa wasn’t salty,

No hero he of fable,

His English wasn’t faulty,

He wore a coat at table.

His character lacked the color

Of either saint or satyr,

His life was rather duller

Than that of Walter Pater.


Look at Grandpa, take a look!

How can I write a book!


His temper wasn’t crusty,

He shone forth not majestic

For barroom exploits lusty,

Or tyranny domestic.

He swung not on the gallows

But went to his salvation

While toasting stale marshmallows

His only dissipation.


Look at Grandpa, take a look!

How can I write a book!


My Uncle John was cautious,

He never slipped his anchor,

His probity was nauseous,

In fact he was a banker.

He hubbed no hubba hubbas,

And buckled he no swashes,

He wore a pair of rubbers

Inside of his galoshes.


Look at my uncle, take a look!

How can I write a book!


My other uncle, Herbie,

Just once enlarged his orbit,

The day he crushed his derby

While cheering James J. Corbett.

No toper he, or wencher,

He backed nor horse nor houri,

His raciest adventure

A summons to the jury.


Look at my uncles, take a look!

How can I write a book!


Round my ancestral menfolk

There hangs no spicy aura,

I have no racy kinfolk

From Rome or Gloccamora.

Not nitwits, not Napoleons,

The mill they were the run of,

My family weren’t Mongolians;

Then whom can I make fun of?



No book!


Ogden Nash 1902-1971

Published in Poetry Speaks: Hear Great Poets Read Their Work from Tennyson to Plath


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