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Ogden Nash

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

First Child ... Second Child


FIRST

Be it a girl, or one of the boys,
It is scarlet all over its avoirdupois,
It is red, it is boiled; could the obstetrician
Have possibly been a lobstertrician?
His degrees and credentials were hunky-dory,
But how's for an infantile inventory?
Here's the prodigy, here's the miracle!
Whether its head is oval or spherical,
You rejoice to find it has only one,
Having dreaded a two-headed daughter or son;
Here's the phenomenon all complete,
It's got two hands, it's got two feet,
Only natural, but pleasing, because
For months you have dreamed of flippers or claws.
Furthermore, it is fully equipped:
Fingers and toes with nails are tipped;
It's even got eyes, and a mouth clear cut;
When the mouth comes open the eyes go shut,
When the eyes go shut, the breath is loosed
And the presence of lungs can be deduced.
Let the rockets flash and the cannon thunder,
This child is a marvel, a matchless wonder.
A staggering child, a child astounding,
Dazzling, diaperless, dumbfounding,
Stupendous, miraculous, unsurpassed,
A child to stagger and flabbergast,
Bright as a button, sharp as a thorn,
And the only perfect one ever born.


SECOND

Arrived this evening at half-past nine.
Everybody is doing fine.
Is it a boy, or quite the reverse?
You can call in the morning and ask the nurse.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Minna Holloway (11/20/2009 6:55:00 AM)

    What Mr. Nash was unable to consider when writing this poem is the utter horror the medical profession strikes into women having a second (or first, or any) child after the age of 35. That's the magic number at which everything that worked quite well before supposedly mutates into genetic disorders waiting to occur. I have more worry about my second child coming out OK because I'm 36 now and will be 37 when I give birth to him/her, whereas I had my first at age 33. But it's still a funny poem, and I hope I'm somewhere near as laid-back as the family in this poem was when they welcomed their second. (Report) Reply

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