Today we shall engage in a little bit of edification for the masses.


It’s not April, but who says we have to relegate verses to that month alone?

Today’s piece comes from the Ogden Nash collection “Parents Keep Out, Elderly Poems for Youngerly Readers” circa 1933 (it’s out of print but you can order a copy through our library pretty easily if you like).

In it, you will find that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I dedicate Nash’s words to all those of you out there who believe that we live in times where children are more bloodthirsty than ever before.

Remember – this poem was originally published in the 1930s.


“Don’t Cry, Darling, It’s Blood All Right”
Whenever poets want to give you the
          idea that something is particularly
          meek and mild,
They compare it to a child,
Thereby proving that though poets  
          with poetry may be rife
They don’t know the facts of life.
If of compassion you desire either
          a tittle or a jot,
Don’t try to get it from a tot.
Hard-boiled, sophisticated adults
          like me and you
May enjoy ourselves thoroughly
    with “Little Women” and “Winnie-the-Pooh,”
But innocent infants these titles from
         their reading course eliminate
As soon as they discover that it was
         honey and nuts and mashed potatoes
     instead of human flesh that Winnie-
     the-Pooh and Little Women ate.
Innocent infants have no use for fables
          about rabbits or donkeys or tortoises  
Or porpoises,
What they want is something with
          plenty of well-mutilated corpoises.
Not on legends of how the rose came to
          be a rose instead of a petunia is their
          fancy fed,
But on the inside story of how some-
          body’s bones got ground up to
          make somebody else’s bread.
They go to sleep listening to the story   
        of the little beggar maid who got
        to be queen by being kind to
        the bees and the birds,
But they’re all eyes and ears the minute
        they suspect a wolf or a giant is
        going to tear some poor woodcutter into quarters and thirds.
It really doesn’t take much to fill their cup;
All they want is for somebody to be eaten up.
Therefore I say unto you, all you poets  
        who are so crazy about meek and mild
        little children and their angelic air,
If you are sincere and really want to
        please them, why just go out and get
        yourselves devoured by a bear.
               – Ogden Nash,
             “Parents Keep Out”

Betsy Bird

Betsy Bird is the Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library. She has been writing for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.