Friday, December 31, 2010

Poetry Friday: Common Cold

At my house, we're ringing out the old year with sniffles and sneezes, hacking coughs and chest-hardened wheezes. I'm in rhyming agreement with dear old Ogden.

I hope you'll stop over at Carol's Corner for more Poetry Friday where folks are ringing in the new year with something other than a tissue.

Common Cold
by Ogden Nash

Go hang yourself, you old M.D.!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
I'm not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.

By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever's hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!

Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The F├╝hrer of the Streptococcracy.

Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne'er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.

A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare's plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!


  1. So sorry that you're sick, Dori, but I love the photo!

    This may be the only poem about the Common Cold that I have ever read, but it is also the best, by far.

    Bacteria as large as mice,
    With feet of fire and heads of ice
    Who never interrupt for slumber
    Their stamping elephantine rumba.

  2. Sorry you are not feeling well. I'm taking this poem the next time I go to Kaiser (I am sick about once every five years) and they tell me I have a virus! Here's to a quick return to health in 2011!

  3. Tabatha, I loved the photo, too. Nearly as much as the poem.

    Carol, I'm happy to give you some ammunition, at least in terms of outrage, next time you're under the weather. But stay well.

  4. Love the photo, love the poem! GLAD I'M WELL!! (best wishes for speedy recoveries at your house, tho)