I Yield To My Learned Brother

or — Is There a Candlestick Maker in the House?

by OGDEN NASH (1902-1971)

The doctor gets you when you’re born,
The preacher, when you marry,
And the lawyer lurks with costly clerks
If too much on you carry.
Professional men, they have no cares;
Whatever happens, they get theirs.

You can’t say When
To professional men,
For it’s always When to they;
They go out and golf
With the big bad wolf
In the most familiar way.
Hard times for them contain no terrors;
Their income springs from human errors.

The noblest lord is ushered in
By the practicing physician,
And the humblest lout is ushered out
By a certified mortician.
And in between, they find their foyers
Alive with summonses from lawyers.

Oh, would my parents long ago
Had memorized this motto!
For then might I, their offspring, buy
A Rolls or an Isotto.
But now I fear I never can,
For I am no professional man.

You can’t say When
To professional men,
For it’s always When to they;
They were doing fine
In ’29,
And they’re doing fine today.

Acknowledgments: Morgan Friedman Ogden Nash Online
Ogden Nash poems and stories, copyright © by Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt.

Ogden Nash

Born in Rye, New York, to wealthy parents, Ogden Nash joined the staff of New York in 1929. He contributed poems regularly to the magazine, appeared often on radio programs, wrote screenplays for MGM, and collaborated with S.J. Perelman and Kurt Weill on the musical One Touch of Venus in 1943. A satirist of the “minor idiocies of humanity”, Nash said he would rather be a “good bad poet, rather than a bad good poet.” His poems seem intent on not taking themselves (or anything else) too seriously. … The Oxford Book of American Poetry (2006) by David Lehman

Ogden Nash Contemporaries
Alfred Noyes
Langston Hughes
Pablo Neruda
Ezra Pound

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