Ogden Nash

The Bestiary

The Cow
The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk. 

The Turtle
The turtle lives twixt plated decks
Which practically conceals its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.

The Cobra
This creature fills its mouth with venom
And walks upon its duodenum.
He who attempts to tease the cobra
Is soon a sadder he, and sobra.

The Phoenix
Deep in the study
Of eugenics
We find that fabled
Fowl, the Phoenix.
The wisest bird
As ever was,
Rejecting other
Mas and Pas,
It lays one egg,
Not one or twelve, 
And when it's hatched,
Out pops itselve.

The Rhinoceros
The rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he's not a feast.
Farewell, farewell, you old rhinoceros
I'll stare at something less prepoceros.

The Wombat
The wombat lives across the seas,
Among the far Antipodes,
He may exist on nuts and berries,
or then again, on missionaries;
His distant habitat precludes
Conclusive knowledge of his moods,
But I would not engage the wombat
In any form of mortal combat.

The Giraffe
I beg you, children, do not laugh
When you survey the tall giraffe.
It's hardly sporting to attack
A beast that cannot answer back.
Now you and I have shorter necks,
But we can chant of gin and sex;
He has a trumpet for a throat,
And cannot blow a single note.
It isn't that his voice he hoards;
He hasn't any vocal chords.
I wish for him, and for his wife,
A voluble girafter life.

The Duck
Behold the duck,
It does not cluck.
A cluck it lacks.
It quacks.
It is specially fond
Of a puddle or pond.
When it dines or sups,
It bottoms up.

The Camel
The camel has a single hump;
the dromedary, two;
Or else the other way around.
I'm never sure. Are you?

The Turkey
There is nothing more perky
Than a masculine turkey.
When he struts he struts
With no ifs or buts.
When his face is apoplectic
His harem grows hectic,
And when he gobbles
Their universe wobbles.

The Hippopotamus
Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim
I wonder how we look to him.
Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.

The Kitten
The trouble with a kitten is 
Eventually it becomes a

The Panther
The panther is like a leopard,
Except it hasn't been peppered.
Should you behold a panther crouch,
Prepare to say Ouch.
Better yet, if called by a panther,
Don't anther.

The Canary
The song of canaries
Never varies,
And when they're molting
They're pretty revolting.

The Skink
Let us do justice to the skink
Who isn't what so many think.
On consultation with a wizard
I find the skink a kind of lizard.
Since he is not a printer's whim,
Don't sniff and back away from him,
Or you may be adjudged too drunk
to tell a lizard from a skunk.

The Ant
The ant has made himself illustrious
Through constant industry industrious.
So what?
Would you be calm and placid
If you were full of formic acid?

The Centipede
I objurgate the centipede,
A bug we do not really need.
At sleepy-time he beats a path
Straight to the bedroom or the bath.
You always wallop where he's not,
Or, if he is, he makes a spot.

The Firefly
The firefly's flame
Is something for which science has no name.
I can think of nothing eerier
Than flying around with an unidentified glow on a person's posteerier.

The Porcupine
Any hound a porcupine nudges
Can't be blamed for harboring grudges.
I know one hound who laughed all winter
At a porcupine that sat on a splinter.

The Hamster
There is not much to say about the hamster
To stimulate the epigramster.
The essence of his simple story,
He populates the laboratory,
Then leaves his offspring in the lurch,
Martyrs to medical research.
Was he as bright as people am
New York would be New Hamsterdam.

The Mules
In the world of mules
There are no rules.

The Grackle
The grackle's voice is less than mellow,
His heart is black, his eye is yellow,
He bullies more attractive birds
With hoodlum deeds and vulgar words, 
And should a human interfere,
Attacks that human in the rear.
I cannot help but deem the grackle
an ornithological debacle.

The Ostrich
The ostrich roams the great Sahara,
Its mouth is wide, his neck is narra.
It has such long and lofty legs,
I'm glad it sits to lay its eggs.

The Abominable Snowman
I've never seen an abominable snowman,
I'm hoping not to see one,
I'm also hoping, if I do,
That it will be a wee one.

The Manatee
The manatee is harmless
And conspicuously charmless.
Luckily the manatee
Is quite devoid of vanity.

The Python
The python has, and I fib no fibs,
318 pairs of ribs.
In stating this I place reliance
On a seance with one who died for science.
This figure is sworn and attested;
He counted them while being digested.

The Pig
The pig, if I am not mistaken,
Supplies us with sausage, ham, and bacon.
Let others say his heart is big - 
I call it stupid of the pig.