“A Carol for Children” by Ogden Nash

by Kim on December 21, 2011

God rest you, merry Innocents,
Let nothing you dismay,
Let nothing wound an eager heart
Upon this Christmas Day.

Yours be the genial holly wreaths,
The stockings and the tree;
An aged world to you bequeaths
Its own forgotten glee.

Soon, soon enough come crueler gifts,
The anger and the tears;
Between you now there sparsely drifts
A handful yet of years.

Oh dimly, dimly glows the star
Through the electric throng;
The bidding in temple and bazaar
Drowns out the silver song.

The ancient altar smokes afresh,
The ancient idols stir;
Faint in the reek of burning flesh
Sink frankincense and myrrh.

Gaspar, Balthasar, Melchior!
Where are your offerings now?
What greetings to the Prince of War,
His darkly branded brow?

Two ultimate laws alone we know,
The ledger and the sword –
So far away, so long ago,
We lost the infant Lord.

Only the children clasp his hand;
His voice speaks low to them,
And still for them the shining band
Wings over Bethlehem.

God rest you, merry Innocents,
While innocence endures.
A sweeter Christmas than we to ours
May you bequeath to yours.

Candy Is Dandy: The Best of Ogden Nash (London: Metheun, 1983), pp. 106-07.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }


Richard 12.21.11 at 9:33 am

That’s my kind of poem!


Kim 12.21.11 at 10:40 am

Then you’ll like this one too, also by Nash, called “Reflection on Ice-Breaking”:

Is dandy
But liquor
Is quicker.


Richard 12.21.11 at 1:01 pm

That’s a fine one. My favourite - I forget the title - goes:

The pig, if I am not mistaken
Supplies us sausage, ham and bacon.
Let others say his heart is big,
I call it foolish of the pig.

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