Winter Complaint

Ogden Nash 1902 (Rye, New York) – 1971 (Baltimore)



Now when I have a cold
I am careful with my cold,
I consult a physician
And I do as I am told.
I muffle up my torso
In woolly woolly garb,
And I quaff great flagons
Of sodium bicarb.
I munch on aspirin,
I lunch on water,
And I wouldn’t dream of osculating
Anybody’s daughter,
And to anybody’s son
I wouldn’t say howdy,
For I am a sufferer
Magna cum laude.
I don’t like germs,
But I’ll keep the germs I’ve got.
Will I take a chance of spreading them?
Definitely not.
I sneeze out the window
And I cough up the flue,
And I live like a hermit
Till the germs get through.
And because I’m considerate,
Because I’m wary,
I am treated by my friends
Like Typhoid Mary.

Now when you have a cold
You are careless with your cold,
You are cocky as a gangster
Who has just been paroled.
You ignore your physician,
You eat steaks and oxtails,
You stuff yourself with starches,
You drink lots of cocktails,
And you claim that gargling
Is a time of waste,
And you won’t take soda
For you don’t like the taste,
And you prowl around parties
Full of selfish bliss,
And greet your hostess
With a genial kiss.
You convert yourself
Into a deadly missile,
You exhale Hello’s
Like a steamboat whistle.
You sneeze in the subway
And you cough at dances,
And let everybody else
Take their own good chances.
You’re a bronchial boor,
A bacterial blighter,
And you get more invitations
Than a gossip writer.

Yes, your throat is froggy,
And your eyes are swimmy,
And you hand is clammy,
And you nose is brimmy,
But you woo my girls
And their hearts you jimmy
While I sit here
With the cold you gimmy.
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Submitted by RobertHaigh on August 26, 2020

Modified on April 25, 2023

1:29 min read
239

Quick analysis:

Scheme AABACDCDXEFEBGEXXHIHCJKJKGXG AAEABCXXFLXLXMXMXNCNXOXOXEXE FIGIXGXI
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 1,532
Words 299
Stanzas 3
Stanza Lengths 28, 28, 8

Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was, during his lifetime, the most well-known American writer of light verse, and his popularity has continued after his death. His witty style has been imitated by many, but none have quite equalled the old master. more…

All Ogden Nash poems | Ogden Nash Books

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