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(August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971 / New York / United States)

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I Do, I Will, I Have

How wise I am to have instructed the butler
to instruct the first footman to instruct the second
footman to instruct the doorman to order my carriage;
I am about to volunteer a definition of marriage.
Just as I know that there are two Hagens, Walter and Copen,
I know that marriage is a legal and religious alliance entered
into by a man who can't sleep with the window shut and a
woman who can't sleep with the window open.
Moreover, just as I am unsure of the difference between
flora and fauna and flotsam and jetsam,
I am quite sure that marriage is the alliance of two people
one of whom never remembers birthdays and the other
never forgetsam,
And he refuses to believe there is a leak in the water pipe or
the gas pipe and she is convinced she is about to asphyxiate
or drown,
And she says Quick get up and get my hairbrushes off the
windowsill, it's raining in, and he replies Oh they're all right,

it's only raining straight down.
That is why marriage is so much more interesting than divorce,
Because it's the only known example of the happy meeting of
the immovable object and the irresistible force.
So I hope husbands and wives will continue to debate and
combat over everything debatable and combatable,
Because I believe a little incompatibility is the spice of life,
particularly if he has income and she is pattable.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003


Read poems about / on: marriage, believe, sleep, woman, happy, water, people, hope, husband, rain, remember, women

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Comments about this poem (Come On In, The Senility Is Fine by Ogden Nash )

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  • Cynthia Buhain-baello (2/2/2010 1:29:00 AM)

    A hilariously reamrkable definition of marriage, full of engaging wit and humor.

    4 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Jimmy Wrangler (11/25/2007 6:01:00 AM)

    This guy is one of the greatest and my favorite. Here is a prime example of what he does so well. Thanks Ogden.

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