The great poet "writes his time," said T.S. Eliot, which raises
the question: How might poets of the past have commemorated our
sports-addled times? In the 1930s, Ogden Nash was renowned for
squeezing truths into terse verse. ("The Bronx, no thonx!" And:
"Candy is dandy/But liquor is quicker." And: "The turtle lives
'twixt plated decks/Which practically conceal its sex/I think it
clever of the turtle/In such a fix to be so fertile.")
What would Nash--or Robert Frost or Edgar Allan Poe--have made
of modern sports? Now it can be told....
ART BY OGDEN NASH
Art Modell got Cleveland-itis;
Now loves crab cakes, John Unitas.
Beethoven said (and Cleveland
"Art is selfish and perverse."
TRUTH BY OGDEN NASH
Miami's Butch Davis could not tell
He's nine parts Pinocchio, one part
He said, "I'm staying," which
meant, "I'm going."
His pants caught on fire, his nose
is still growing.
RIDDLE BY OGDEN NASH
Young Bart Simpson desired
"Can something, at once, both suck
What, pray tell, both blows
Answer: hockey's Mighty Ducks.
MAVERICK BY OGDEN NASH
The Mavericks' owner? Quite
His rage, at refs, Latrell
His tongue, at times, downright
Most tired Cuban? Mark, not Elian.
STOPPING BY WOODS ON THE PRACTICE GREEN BY ROBERT FROST
Whose Woods he is I think I know.
He belongs to his public, no?
He'll surely sign his name for me.
Alas! I've bumped into his knee!
An accident--but Tiger swoons.
And now I'm chased by blazered goons!
And if his knee no longer pivots,
Chunks of me will fill in divots!
THE RAVEN BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
Once upon a Sunday dreary, channel
surfing, weak and beery,
I saw a man who very nearly made
me toss my lunch upon the floor.
While I nodded, disbelieving, and
two families sat home grieving,
He was grinding, pelvis heaving,
dancing as if at Studio 54.
Ah, distinctly I remember, seeing
football's dying ember,
When a certain craven member of
the Ravens danced before the
And I heard the death knell toll:
for the NFL, plus any TV viewer
with a soul,
Forced to watch the Super Bowl.
And the shameless, sad, disgusting
nature of his pelvic thrusting
Chilled me--filled me with revulsion
that I scarcely knew before.
Two young men have long lay
buried (dagger blows that
Still the craven Raven carried on as
if before an ancient war.
And his actions doth that craven
Raven now abhor?
Quoth the Raven: "Never," for:
Presently his dance grew sicker, and
my TV screen did flicker,
With a man whose moral ticker
appeared (I feared) to beat no more.
So I stopped my channel flipping,
at this Raven fairly skipping,
And the nation slowly slipping,
ripping at its very core--
A sight which I could not ignore.
Thus I peered into your psyches,
you who cheered the man in
Nikes--and here I opened wide
the chamber door:
Darkness there and nothing more.
B/W ILLUSTRATION: DAN PICASSO