Friday, August 10, 2007

Now this guy understands knitters!

Machinery Doesn’t Answer Either, But You Aren’t Married to It
by Ogden Nash

Life will teach you many things, chief of which is that every man who talks
to himself isn’t necessarily out of his wits;
He may have a wife who knits.
Probably only he and his Maker
Know how many evenings he has spent trying to raise a conversation while his beloved created sweaters by the acre.
Ah, my inquiring offspring, you must learn that life can be very bitter,
But never quite so much so as when trying to pry a word out of a knitter.
Sometimes she knits and sits,
Sometimes she sits and knits,
And you tell her what you have been doing all day and you ask what she
has been doing all day … and you speak tenderly of your courtship and your
And you might as well try to get a response out of an Oriental idol,
And you notice a spasmodic movement of her lips,
And you think she is going to say something but she is only counting the number of stitches it takes to surround the hips;
And she furrows her beautiful brow, which is a sign that something is wrong somewhere and you keep on talking and disregard the sign,
And she casts a lethal glance, as one who purls before swine,
And this goes on for weeks
At the end of which she lays her work down and speaks,
And you think now maybe you can have some home life but she speaks in a tone as far off as Mercury or Saturn,
And she says thank goodness that is finished, it is a sight and she will never be able to wear it, but it doesn’t matter because she can hardly wait to start on an adorable new pattern,
And when this has been going on for a long time, why that’s the time that strong men
break down and go around talking to themselves in public, finally,
And it doesn’t mean that they are weak mentally and spinally.
It doesn’t mean, my boy, that they ought to be in an asylum like Nijinsky the dancer,
It only means that they got into the habit of talking to themselves at home because they themselves were the only people they could talk to and get an answer.

Excerpted from the full poem as published in the collection
Verses from 1929 On by Ogden Nash
(Modern Library, Random House – page 122-123)

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

I've always loved this poem! I wanted to share it with a friend and found your website googling. I know I'll enjoy looking around. Thanks for posting the excerpt.