Guest poem submitted by Sandeep Bhadra :
(Poem #1510) The Purist
I give you now Professor Twist, A conscientious scientist, Trustees exclaimed, "He never bungles!" And sent him off to distant jungles. Camped on a tropic riverside, One day he missed his loving bride. She had, the guide informed him later, Been eaten by an alligator. Professor Twist could not but smile. "You mean," he said, "a crocodile."
I can see that there are quite a few Ogden Nashes in your collection, but this particular one is a personal favourite. Unlike his longer rambling poems, this one captures so much, so humourously and so accurately in so little. It is a wonder no one thought of suggesting this one for your anthology. I can picture an old naturalist-academician in khakis through muddy swamps in Central America, thoroughly devoted to newts and alligators and other amphibians, with very little time for his loving bride. I think his almost mathematical preciseness, even at a time of such utter loss, is not so much an effect of sang-froid as it is of a habitual inclination to set the other guy right - I have heard of that being called 'academic arrogance'. It's pure reflex action for him - and the realisation that old habits die hard bring out his smile. I should imagine that to be a very wry smile indeed! The other cool thing is that with the first two lines, the poem is introduced as an introduction. 'I give you now...' clearly indicates an appearance on a dias/podium of some sort. What is so darkly funny is that whoever is introducing Prof. Twist with these words had to chose this anecdote to prove the professor's conscientiousness. more on Ogden Nash (bio/poems) at: http://www.westegg.com/nash/ http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/nash regards, Sandeep.