Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Pretty Halcyon Days 
How pleasant to sit on the beach,
On the beach, on the sand, in the sun,
With ocean galore within reach,
And nothing at all to be done!
No letters to answer,
No bills to be burned,
No work to be shirked,
No cash to be earned.
It is pleasant to sit on the beach
With nothing at all to be done. 
How pleasant to look at the ocean,
Democratic and damp; indiscriminate;
It fills me with noble emotion
To think I am able to swim in it.
To lave in the wave,
Majestic and chilly,
Tomorrow I crave;
But today it is silly.
It is pleasant to look at the ocean;
Tomorrow, perhaps, I shall swim in it.


How pleasant to gaze at the sailors,
As their sailboats they manfully sail
With the vigor of vikings and whalers
In the days of the viking and whale.
They sport on the brink
Of the shad and the shark;
If it’s windy they sink;
If it isn’t, they park.
It is pleasant to gaze at the sailors,
To gaze without having to sail.

How pleasant the salt anaesthetic
Of the air and the sand and the sun;
Leave the earth to the strong and athletic,
And the sea to adventure upon.

But the sun and the sand
No contractor can copy;
We lie in the land
Of the lotus and poppy;
We vegetate, calm and aesthetic,
On the beach, on the sand, in the sun.


~ Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

10 comments:

  1. There IS something magical and renewing about going to the beach.

    But I must confess that I prefer swimming in a swimming pool: no critters (to speak of), visibility all around, no riptides or undertow. Somehow, I always get torn up at the beach by either jellyfish or currents.

    All that said, I LOVE the beaches in Hawaii! Soft sand, visibility, gentle currents for the most part.

    Perhaps the Gulf side of Florida is nicer than the Atlantic side, the only beaches I've visited in Florida.

    PS: Great graphics with this post.

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  2. Some, Plato said, go to the Olympics to compete. Some go to watch, and some to buy and sell. In his view, the noblest of the three are the onlookers, for they have chosen the purity of contemplation...

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  3. Exactly right, Thersites. You got it.

    I think Ogden Nash was aware too that while his role was meant to be that of onlooker and gently whimsical connoisseur of "the passing show," there would be little or no reason or incentive to engage in demonstrations of extraordinary skill and talent, if there were no audience to appreciate them.

    In my days as a concert pianist, I learned that an enthusiastic audience tends to bring out the best in you. On the other hand a hostile, "competitive" audience eager to see you fail so they might feel better about their own poor abilities can be a daunting -- even terrifying -- thing.

    Many critics have said that Ogden Nash was not "truly" a poet. Perhaps not, but I suspect he probably didn't mind all that much. The poor man had to be content with merely being a genius.

    ~ FT

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  4. Thank you, AOW, for noticing the graphics.

    It's almost sinfully easy -- thanks to good old Google -- to find almost too much material to illustrate almost any concept we can dream up.

    Every day, I offer a prayer of gratitude to the great number of nameless, faceless artists and photographers who contribute to our journalistic welfare at no cost.

    ~ FT

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  5. I can see the ocean any day and rarely go there...2 1/2 miles away, so I can always see that beautiful strip of blue at the end of Wilshire BOulevard.
    Maybe I'll go today and park on the bluffs and enjoy the view and get some fresh air. Mr. Z used to walk the bluffs nearly every day and I haven't been able to go yet. Maybe it's time.
    thanks.

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  6. I must go down to the seas again,
    _____ to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship
    _____ and a star to steer her by,
    And the wheel's kick and the wind's song
    _____ and the white sail's shaking,
    And a grey mist on the sea's face,
    _____ and a grey dawn breaking.

    I must go down to the seas again,
    _____ for the call of the running tide
    Is a wild call and a clear call
    _____ that may not be denied;
    And all I ask is a windy day
    _____ with the white clouds flying,
    And the flung spray and the blown spume,
    _____ and the sea-gulls crying.

    I must go down to the seas again,
    _____ ro the vagrant gypsy life,
    To the gull's way and the whale's way,
    _____ where the wind's like a whetted knife;
    And all I ask is a merry yarn
    _____ from a laughing fellow-rover,
    And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
    _____ when the long trick's over.

    ~ John Masefield (1878-1967)

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  7. What could Masefield mean by "the long trick?"

    ~ FT

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  8. Well, Ogden, old friend, once again we see that all you have to do is give people something brilliant, unusually clever, original, charming, meditative, beautiful, inspiring or uplifting, and they'll IGNORE it.

    The fundamental motivation of most human beings is to find something they can OBJECT to, DENIGRATE, MOCK, CONDEMN, VILIFY, EXCORIATE, PERSECUTE, REJECT and feel justified in trying to KILL.

    The dominant emotion among humankind is LOVE of HATRED.

    Is it any wonder we fund ourselves in an endless series of sorry situations?

    Well, thank you anyway, dear Ogden, for giving those of us with eyes to see, and ears to hear a unique and delightful alternative to all that. I know I am not alone in my appreciation of your wryly positive contribution to Civilization.

    God bless you and keep you, wherever you are!

    ~ FreeThinke

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