Happy Columbus Day

Once upon a time there was an Italian,
And some people thought he was a rapscallion,
But he wasn’t offended,
Because other people thought he was splendid,
And he said the world was round,
And everybody made an uncomplimentary sound,
But he went and tried to borrow some money from Ferdinand
But Ferdinand said America was a bird in the bush and he’d rather have a berdinand,
But Columbus’ brain was fertile, it wasn’t arid,
And he remembered that Ferdinand was married,
And he thought, there is no wife like a misunderstood one,
Because if her husband thinks something is a terrible idea she is bound to think it a good one,
So he perfumed his handkerchief with bay rum and citronella,
And he went to see Isabella,
And he looked wonderful but he had never felt sillier,
And she said, I can’t place the face but the aroma is familiar,
And Columbus didn’t say a word,
All he said was, I am Columbus, the fifteenth-century Admiral Byrd,
And, just as he thought, her disposition was very malleable,
And she said, Here are my jewels, and she wasn’t penurious like Cornelia the mother of the Gracchi, she wasn’t referring to her children, no, she was referring to her jewels, which were very very valuable,
So Columbus said, Somebody show me the sunset and somebody did and he set sail for it,
And he discovered America and they put him in jail for it,
And the fetters gave him welts,
And they named America after somebody else,
So the sad fate of Columbus ought to be pointed out to every child and every voter,
Because it has a very important moral, which is, Don’t be a discoverer, be a promoter.

–Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

24 Responses to Happy Columbus Day

  1. GP says:

    He didn’t discover America.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Herb says:

    Ogden Nash is one of my all-time favorites. You made me think about this song by Allan Sherman, America’s a Nice Italian Name:

    Liked by 2 people

  3. atimetoshare.me says:

    I love Ogden Nash 💙

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nancy Ruegg says:

    All the way through the reading of this poem I thought, “Wow, that B.O.B. is one talented poet!” And then I learn at the end that Ogden Nash wrote it. Which means, since I’m quite sure you’re clever enough to have written this poem, I therefore anticipate such an effort in an upcoming post! (It doesn’t have to be as long!) 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Nancy Ruegg says:

    . . . “for the soul of wit is brevity.” Indeed! And you’ve proved my point: you CAN write poetry! But no pressure–just when inspiration strikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Katherine says:

    Haha we just finished Leif Erikson and Columbus/Early Exploration in our History book with my 4th grader. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tsi Harter says:

    One thing that irks me is how Columbus is some sort of villian. Anyone who read up on him knows he was arrested for charges of being a traitor for daring to fight slavers. when he was dragged to the king’s court, he had representatives of the Vatican backing him.

    Liked by 1 person

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