Ogden Nash

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

Winter Complaint - Poem by Ogden Nash

Now when I have a cold
I am careful with my cold,
I consult a physician
And I do as I am told.
I muffle up my torso
In woolly woolly garb,
And I quaff great flagons
Of sodium bicarb.
I munch on aspirin,
I lunch on water,
And I wouldn’t dream of osculating
Anybody’s daughter,
And to anybody’s son
I wouldn’t say howdy,
For I am a sufferer
Magna cum laude.
I don’t like germs,
But I’ll keep the germs I’ve got.
Will I take a chance of spreading them?
Definitely not.
I sneeze out the window
And I cough up the flue,
And I live like a hermit
Till the germs get through.
And because I’m considerate,
Because I’m wary,
I am treated by my friends
Like Typhoid Mary.

Now when you have a cold
You are careless with your cold,
You are cocky as a gangster
Who has just been paroled.
You ignore your physician,
You eat steaks and oxtails,
You stuff yourself with starches,
You drink lots of cocktails,
And you claim that gargling
Is a time of waste,
And you won’t take soda
For you don’t like the taste,
And you prowl around parties
Full of selfish bliss,
And greet your hostess
With a genial kiss.
You convert yourself
Into a deadly missle,
You exhale Hello’s
Like a steamboat wistle.
You sneeze in the subway
And you cough at dances,
And let everybody else
Take their own good chances.
You’re a bronchial boor,
A bacterial blighter,
And you get more invitations
Than a gossip writer.

Yes, your throat is froggy,
And your eyes are swimmy,
And you hand is clammy,
And you nose is brimmy,
But you woo my girls
And their hearts you jimmy
While I sit here
With the cold you gimmy.


Comments about Winter Complaint by Ogden Nash

  • Ruta Mohapatra (12/30/2017 11:22:00 AM)


    Hilarious indeed! Enjoyed reading it. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (2/14/2017 10:54:00 PM)


    A first class entertainer poem. Enjoyed reading it as it unfolds a colorful picture of human weaknesses coupled with ego. (Report) Reply

  • (9/24/2015 11:12:00 PM)


    I truly think of all the poets I've read, Ogden Nash is truly one of a kind. Please understand I do enjoy; Whitman, Frost, Keats, Hughes and Poe but Nash found a way to bring me to tears with his writing either with sorrow or joy. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: daughter, son, kiss, water, dream, winter, dance, friend, girl



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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