Ogden Nash

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

Listen... - Poem by Ogden Nash

There is a knocking in the skull,
An endless silent shout
Of something beating on a wall,
And crying, “Let me out!”

That solitary prisoner
Will never hear reply.
No comrade in eternity
Can hear the frantic cry.

No heart can share the terror
That haunts his monstrous dark.
The light that filters through the chinks
No other eye can mark.

When flesh is linked with eager flesh,
And words run warm and full,
I think that he is loneliest then,
The captive in the skull.

Caught in a mesh of living veins,
In cell of padded bone,
He loneliest is when he pretends
That he is not alone.

We’d free the incarcerate race of man
That such a doom endures
Could only you unlock my skull,
Or I creep into yours.


Comments about Listen... by Ogden Nash

  • (6/27/2017 2:31:00 PM)


    This poem is amazing. I really liked it! I'm glad they put these poems on here. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (4/22/2017 8:31:00 AM)


    This poem reminded me of one of the ancient goals of mankind Moksha or liberation of soul. Soul is portrayed and thought of as the eternal part of Brahman imprisoned in our body wishing to unite with almighty. It occupied many in ancient times and still fascinates. It became the subject of mystic love poems of medevial saints. Specially in Sufi and devotional poetry of India. I read and feel the same longing here in this great poem in a very contemporary way of writing guided not by devotion and faith but by scientific knowledge. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (4/22/2017 8:20:00 AM)


    The competition will go on...thanks for sharing such a nice poem. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (4/22/2017 2:10:00 AM)


    Race of man! ! On earth. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (4/22/2017 1:31:00 AM)


    I suppose I can be thankful that this poem recognises the brain/mind. A very limited poem of no great skill. I feel disappointed. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (4/22/2017 1:02:00 AM)


    An endless silent shout.... thanks for posting.... (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (12/20/2016 1:54:00 PM)

    tom allport
    we all have our own mobile personal man made prison (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: alone, dark, light, heart, running



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



[Report Error]