I've always enjoyed Ogden Nash's poetry. Sometimes he's just great fun, sometimes poignant.
His verses on matrimony are immortal. And he writes about babies and children, mostly with affection. But in one of his earliest poems he is just about as annoyed by babies and their parents and the associated industries as Falstaff is wont to be. And even dear Yashodhara found babies quite ugly and unappealing, in the bad old days before Peanut appeared on the scene.
So here's dear Mr.Nash trashing babies, little realising, perhaps, that they would be the inspiration for some of his most loved poems.
Did Someone Say 'Babies'?
Everybody who has a baby thinks everybody who hasn't a baby ought
to have a baby.
Which accounts for the success of such plays as the Irish Rose of Abie.
The idea apparently that just being fruitful
You are doing something beautiful.
Which if it is true
Means that the common housefly is several million times more beautiful
than me or you.
Who is responsible for this propaganda that fills all our houses from
their attics to their kitchens?
Is it the perambulator trust or safety pin manufacturers or the census
takers or the obstetrichens?
Men and women everywhere would have a lot more chance of acquiring
recreation and fame and financial independence
If they didn't have to spend most of their time and money tending and
supporting two or three unattractive descendants.
We could soon upset this kettle of fish, forsooth.
If every adult would come out and tell every other adult the truth.
To arms, adults! Kindle the beacon fires!
Women, do you want to be nothing but dams? Men, do you want to be
nothing but sires?
To arms, Mr. President! Call out the army, the navy, the marines the
militia, the cadets and the middies.
Down with the kiddies!
( from Free Wheeling, 1931)
This anti-baby stance doesn't seem to last for very long. In his poem,
'Some of my best friends are children'( Happy Days, 1933), he goes on to conclude:
The Politician, the Parent, the Preacher,
Were each of them once a kiddie.
The child is indeed a talented creature.
Do I want one? Oh God forbidde!
Of course there's always our child,
But our child's adorable,
Our child's an angel
Fairer than the flowers;
Our child fascinates
One who's rather borable;
Our child is ours.
I guess that says it all!