A friend who is getting married in 3 weeks has asked if you could suggest a poem suitable for her father to include in his speech at the reception. I assured her that you would have come up with several by next week. Her mother-in-law is going to receive a copy of the poem from lost quotes cos I passed that one on.
Ooh- putting the pressure on!
Does he want funny or sentimental? I tend to vote for funny-
Song To Be Sung by the Father of Infant Female Children
by Ogden Nash
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky;
Contrariwise, my blood runs cold
When little boys go by.
For little boys as little boys,
No special hate I carry,
But now and then they grow to men,
And when they do, they marry.
No matter how they tarry,
Eventually they marry.
And, swine among the pearls,
They marry little girls.
Oh, somewhere, somewhere, an infant plays,
With parents who feed and clothe him.
Their lips are sticky with pride and praise,
But I have begun to loathe him.
Yes, I loathe with loathing shameless
This child who to me is nameless.
This bachelor child in his carriage
Gives never a thought to marriage,
But a person can hardly say knife
Before he will hunt him a wife.
I never see an infant (male),
A-sleeping in the sun,
Without I turn a trifle pale
And think is he the one?
Oh, first he'll want to crop his curls,
And then he'll want a pony,
And then he'll think of pretty girls,
And holy matrimony.
A cat without a mouse
Is he without a spouse.
Oh, somewhere he bubbles bubbles of milk,
And quietly sucks his thumbs.
His cheeks are roses painted on silk,
And his teeth are tucked in his gums.
But alas the teeth will begin to grow,
And the bubbles will cease to bubble;
Given a score of years or so,
The roses will turn to stubble.
He'll sell a bond, or he'll write a book,
And his eyes will get that acquisitive look,
And raging and ravenous for the kill,
He'll boldly ask for the hand of Jill.
This infant whose middle
Is diapered still
Will want to marry My daughter Jill.
Oh sweet be his slumber and moist his middle!
My dreams, I fear, are infanticiddle.
A fig for embryo Lohengrins!
I'll open all his safety pins,
I'll pepper his powder, and salt his bottle,
And give him readings from Aristotle.
Sand for his spinach I'll gladly bring,
And Tabasco sauce for his teething ring.
Then perhaps he'll struggle through fire and water
To marry somebody else's daughter.
Star Light, Star Bright...
Parents are lucky first:
they get to see
the baby, child and woman
We've held you in our arms
on many a night,
and pointed out the stars
while you cried 'Light',
and told you boring tales
that never stopped
(until the teller's eyelids
of Captain Sterling and his
(Chee-Chee the monkey, parrot and
set sail forever from
their peaceful home,
their landfall Octopus Island,
ringed with foam...).
The child becomes a woman
- now we feel
lucky a third time round
(is this for real
- this dark-haired darling with
the flashing eyes
brighter than any candle-shine?!)
is still our joyful present lot
that, should we dare to think
the past forgot,
then you'll be there reminding us
has all times in its keeping
- wherever we move
we're with you in our wishing,
near and far
being no more distant ever than
that night-time star...
Bruce Dawe (Australian poet)
There is a hymn that starts 'Here before thee awful father' or do I mean 'aweful Father'? I've always thought it should be sung more at weddings!
Those are some great suggestions you have been given already!
When I was father of the bride a bit over 15 months ago, I included in my speech 'Choosing a Wife' by contemporary English poet Godfrey Rust. It's clever as well as funny, and went down splendidly. But it's under copyright, so I won't post it in full here without permission. Just the first 6 lines, to give you the flavour:
Choosing a wife is not exactly like choosing
a dog. Look out, naturally,
for bright eyes and well-groomed hair,
but avoid yapping and a wet
nose. Treasure though,
absolute loyalty and the fetching of slippers
I notice that Godfrey posted recently on the Lost Poetry Quotations page, albeit without success so far. If he reads this, maybe he will respond allowing 'Choosing a Wife' to be posted in this thread.
In any case, I thoroughly recommend 'Welcome to the Real World' (published by Wordsout), his book of collected poems 1980-2000; not just for 'Choosing a Wife' but for lots of others, many in the lighter vein. I believe it has sold very well in England, so should still be in print.
Post Edited (07-02-04 09:30)
You can get 'Welcome to the Real World' from this website for £7.50 (I assume plus p&p)
Sorry Pam, it doesn't ring any bells for me either. Probably some much-loved (but obscure) book from his daughter's childhood.