Sunday, November 12, 2006

Purple Cows



I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one
.

-- Frank Gelett Burgess


I know, I know, this isn't a photo of a purple cow. It's an ostrich in a racing harness. There are no purple cows and I don't have any photos of them. Oh, I suppose I could have created one with Photoshop, but that would take too much effort. I already had the photo of the ostrich in a racing harness.

Sometimes you make do.

I think Purple Cow is one of the first poems I ever memorized. Of course, it isn't much of a poem. But I could remember it. It was kind of like "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear; Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair; Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy, was he?"

That always cracked me up as a kid.

But I digress.

Although for years I thought Ogden Nash wrote Purple Cow, it was actually written by Frank Gelett Burgess. The complete title was Purple Cow: Reflections on a Mythic Beast Who's Quite Remarkable, at Least (in 1895). The full title is almost longer than the poem. Once Burgess wrote the poem, he regretted it. This was expressed in his sequel to the poem:

Ah yes, I wrote "The Purple Cow"
I'm Sorry now I wrote it
But I can tell you Anyhow
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!

I kind of like that more than the original poem. Basically, I think poems should be like visits from relatives -- very brief.

Oh and if you are still wondering about the ostrich in a racing harness photo...well don't.

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