Энтони Хект / Anthony Hecht

Глин Максвелл / Glyn Maxwell

Огден Нэш / Ogden Nash

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Огден Нэш / Ogden Nash

The Clean Platter
The Shad
The Codfish
The Chef has Imagination or It's too Hard to Do It Easy
Experiment Degustatory
The Pioneer
The Smelt
The Pig

The Clean Platter

Some singer’s sing of ladies’ eyes,
And some of ladies’ lips,
Refined ones praise their ladylike ways,
And coarse ones hymn their hips.
The Oxford Book of English Verse
Is lush with lyrics tender;
A poet, I guess, is more or less
Preoccupied with gender.
Yet, I, though custom call me crude,
Prefer to sing in praise of food.

Yes, food,
Just any old kind of food.

Pooh for the cook,
And pooh for the price!
Some of it’s nicer but all of it’s nice.
Pheasant is pleasant, of course,
And terrapin, too, is tasty,
Lobster I freely endorse,
In pate or patty or pasty.
But there’s nothing the matter with butter,
And nothing the matter with jam,
And the warmest of greetings I utter
To the ham and the yam and the clam.
For they’re food,
All food,
And I think very highly of food.
Though I’m broody at times
When bothered with rhymes,
I brood
On food.

Some painters paint the sapphire sea,
And some the gathering storm.
Others portray young lambs at play,
But most, the female form.
‘Twas trite in that primeval dawn
When painting got it’s start,
That a lady with her garments on
Is Life, but is she Art?
By undraped nymphs
I am not wooed;
I’d rather painters painted food.

Just food,
Just any old kind of food.
Let it be sour
Or let it be sweet,
As long as you’re sure it is something to eat.
Go purloin a sirloin, my pet,
If you’d win a devotion incredible;
And asparagus tips vinaigrette,
Or anything else that is edible.
Bring salad or sausage or scrapple,
A berry or even a beet.
Bring an oyster, an egg, or an apple,
As long as it’s something to eat.
If it’s food,
It’s food;
Never mind what kind of food.
When I ponder my mind
I consistently find
It is glued
On food.

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The Shad

I'm sure that Europe never had
A fish as tasty as the shad.
Some people greet the shad with groans,
Complaining of its countless bones;
I claim the bones teach table poise
And separate the men from boys.
The shad must be dissected subtle-y;
Besides, the roe is boneless, utterly.

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The Codfish

The codfish is a staple food
For which I’m seldom in the mood.
This fish is such an utter loss
That people eat it with egg sauce,
One of the odd fish codfish habits
I leave to the Lowells and the Cabots.

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The Chef has Imagination or It's too Hard to Do It Easy

Hark to a lettuce lover,
I consider lettuce a blessing.
And what do I want on my lettuce?
Simply a simple dressing.

But in dining car and hostel
I grow apoplectic and dropsical;
Is this dressing upon my lettuce,
Or is it a melting popsicle?

A dressing is not a meal, dears,
It requires no cream no egg,
Nor butter nor maple sugar,
And neither the nut nor the meg.

A dressing is not a compote,
A dressing is not a custard;
It consists of pepper and salt,
Vinegar, oil, and mustard.

It is not paprika and pickles,
Let us leave those to Teutons;
It is not a pinkish puddle
Of grenadine and Fig Newtons.

Must I journey to France for dressing?
It isn’t a baffling problem;
Just omit the molasses and yoghurt,
The wheat germ and the Pablum.

It’s oil and vinegar, dears,
No need to tiddle and toil;
Just salt and pepper and mustard,
And vinegar, and oil.

For Brillat-Savarin, then, and Hoyle,
Stick, friends, to vinegar and oil!
Yachtsman, jettison boom and spinnaker,
Bring me oil and bring me vinegar!

Play the music of Haydn or Honegger,
But lace it with honest oil and vinegar!
Choir in church or mosque or synagogue,
Sing, please, in praise of oil and vinegogue.
I’m not an expert, just a beginneger,
But I place my trust in oil and vinegar.
May they perish, as Remus was perished
                                by Romulus,
Who monkey with this, the most sacred
                              of formulas.

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Experiment Degustatory

A gourmet challenged me to eat
A tiny bit of rattlesnake meat,
Remarking, “Don’t look horror-stricken,
You’ll find it tastes a lot like chicken.”
It did.
Now chicken I cannot eat.
Because it tastes like rattlesnake meat.

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The Pioneer

I seek in anonymity’s cloister
Not him, who ate the first raw oyster,
But one who, braving spikes and prickles,
The spine that stabs, the leaf that tickles,
With infinite patience and fortitude
Unveiled the artichoke as food.

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There are some people
Whom certain herbs
The good digestion of disturbs
Henry VIII
Divorced Cathrine of Aragon
For her reckless use of tarragon

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The Smelt

Oh, why does man pursue the smelt?
It has no valuable pelt,
It boasts of no escutcheon royal,
It yields no ivory or oil,
Its life is dull, its death is tame,
A fish as humble as its name.
Yet -- take this salmon somewhere else.
And bring me half a dozen smelts.

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The Pig

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

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© Марина Эскина 2008