More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That’s how much I love you.
I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.
As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That’s how much you I love.
I love you more than a wasp can sting,
And more than the subway jerks,
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
And more than a hangnail irks.
I swear to you by the stars above,
And below, if such there be,
As the High Court loathes perjurious oathes,
That’s how you’re loved by me.
Just imagine yourself seated on a shadowy terrace,
And beside you is a girl who stirs you more strangely than a heiress.
It is a summer evening at its most superb,
And the moonlight reminds you that To Love is an active verb,
And the stars are twinkling like anything,
And a distant orchestra is playing some sentimental old Vienna thing,
And your hand clasps hers, which rests there without shrinking,
And after a silence fraught with romance you ask her what she is thinking,
And she starts and returns from the moon-washed distances to the shadowy veranda,
And says, Oh, I was wondering how many bamboo shoots a day it takes to feed a baby Giant Panda.
Or you stand with her on a hilltop and gaze on a winter sunset
And everything is as starkly beautiful as a page from Sigrid Undset,
And your arm goes round her waist and you make an avowal which for masterfully marshaled emotional content might have been a page of Ouida’s or Thackeray’s,
And after a silence fraught with romance she says, I forgot to order the limes for the Daiquiris.
Or in twilight drawing room you have just asked the most momentous of questions,
And after silence fraught with romance she says, I think this little table would look better where that little table is, but then where would that little table go, have you any suggestions?
And that’s the way they go round hitting below our belts;
It isn’t that nothing is sacred to them, it’s just that at the Sacred Moment they are always thinking of something else.
Let us now consider the ocean.
It is always in motion.
It is generally understood to be the source of much of our rain,
And ten thousand fleets are said to have swept over it in vain.
When the poet requested it to break break break on its cold gray rocks it obligingly broke broke broke.
Which as the poet was Alfred Lord Tennyson didn’t surprise him at all but if it had been me I would probably have had a stroke.
Some people call it the Atlantic and some the Pacific or the Antarctic or the Indian or the Mediterranean Sea,
But I always say what difference does it make, some old geographer mumbling a few words of it, it will always be just the Ocean to me.
There is an immortal dignity about something like the Atlantic,
Which seems to drive unimmortal undignified human beings frustratedly frantic.
Just give them one foot on the beach and people who were perfectly normal formerly, or whilom,
Why, they are subject to whoops and capers that would get them blackballed from an asylum;
Yet be they never so rampant and hollerant,
The ocean is tolerant,
Except a couple of times a day it gives up in disgust and goes off by itself and hides,
And that, my dears, accounts for the tides.
Once there was a bridegroom named Mr. Ormantude whose
intentions were hard to disparage,
Because he intended to make his a happy marriage,
And he succeeded for going on fifty years,
During which he was in marital bliss up to his ears.
His wife’s days and nights were enjoyable
Because he catered to every foible;
He went around humming hymns
And anticipating her whims.
Many a fine bit of repartee died on his lips
Lest it throw her anecdotes into eclipse;
He was always silent when his cause was meritorious,
And he never engaged in argument unless sure he was so
obviously wrong that she couldn’t help emerging victorious,
And always when in her vicinity
He was careful to make allowances for her femininity;
Were she snappish, he was sweetish,
And of understanding her he made a fetish.
Everybody said his chances of celebrating his golden wedding
But on his golden wedding eve he was competently poisoned by
his wife who could no longer stand being perpetually understood.
Of all God’s creatures give me man
For impractical uniqueness,
He’s hardly tenth when it comes to strenth,
But he leads the field in weakness.
Distemper suits the ailing dog,
The chicken’s content with pip,
But the human race, which sets the pace,
Takes nothing less than Grippe.
THEN, hey for the grippe, for the goodly la grippe!
In dogs it’s distemper, in chickens, it’s pip;
But the lords of creation insist at the least
On the germ that distinguishes man from the beast.
The mule with mange is satisfied,
They tell me in the South;
And the best-bred cows with drowse and browse,
Content with hoof-and-mouth;
Bubonic cheers the humble rat
As he stealthily leaves the ship;
When the horse gets botts he thinks it’s lots,
But people hold out for grippe.
THEN, hey for the grippe, for the goodly la grippe,
For the frog in the throat and the chap on the lip;
For the ice on the feet and the fire on the brow,
And the bronchial tubes that moo like a cow.
And hey for the ache in the back of the legs,
And the diet of consomme, water and eggs,
For the mustard which sits on your chest like a cactus,
For the doctor you’re kindly providing with practus;
And hey for the pants of which you’re so fond,
And the first happy day they’re allowed to be donned;
For the first day at work, all bundled in wraps,
And last but not least, for the splendid relapse.
So let man meet his Maker, a smile on his lip,
Singing hey, double hey, for the goodly la grippe.