Today we shall engage in a little bit of edification for the masses. Poetry! It’s not April, but who says we have to relegate verses to that month alone? Today’s piece comes from the Ogden Nash collection Parents Keep Out, Elderly Poems for Youngerly Readers circa 1933 (it’s out of print but you can order a copy through our library pretty easily if you like). In it, you will find that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I dedicate Nash’s words to all those of you out there who believe that we live in times where children are more bloodthirsty than ever before. Remember – this poem was originally published in the 30s.
DON’T CRY, DARLING, IT’S BLOOD ALL RIGHT
Whenever poets want to give you the idea that something is particularly meek and mild,
They compare it to a child,
Thereby proving that though poets with poetry may be rife
They don’t know the facts of life.
If of compassion you desire either a tittle or a jot,
Don’t try to get it from a tot.
Hard-boiled, sophisticated adults like me and you
May enjoy ourselves thoroughly with Little Women and Winnie-the-Pooh,
But innocent infants these titles from their reading course eliminate
As soon as they discover that it was honey and nuts and mashed potatoes instead of human flesh that Winnie-the-Pooh and Little Women ate.
Innocent infants have no use for fables about rabbits or donkeys or tortoises or porpoises,
What they want is something with plenty of well-mutilated corpoises.
Not on legends of how the rose came to be a rose instead of a petunia is their fancy fed,
But on the inside story of how somebody’s bones got ground up to make somebody else’s
They go to sleep listening to the story of the little beggarmaid who got to be queen by
being kind to the bees and the birds,
But they’re all eyes and ears the minute they suspect a wolf or a giant is going to tear
some poor woodcutter into quarters and thirds.
It really doesn’t take much to fill their cup;
All they want is for somebody to be eaten up.
Therefore I say unto you, all you poets who are so crazy about meek and mild little
children and their angelic air,
If you are sincere and really want to please them, why just go out and get yourselves
devoured by a bear.
– Ogden Nash, Parents Keep Out