Need Not Be Clever

I read a one-stanza poem called ‘Grandfather is Ashamed’ by Ogden Nash this morning.

And something about it made me sigh and smile at the same time. Perhaps, it contains too much truth about life. Before I rant further, here’s the poem:

A child need not be very clever
To learn that “Later, dear” means “Never.”
– Ogden Nash

Damn, it does something

The first time I read it, I felt it was about how some aspirations always remain unfulfilled. Then it reminded me of the trickery that we use to kid ourselves.

Now this poem might be a humorous one, considering the style of the poet. Yet, what it conveys so concisely is hard to overlook.

As children we’re hopeful, dewy-eyed, and naïve. But then we got used to realizing that the world doesn’t work our way.

We notice …

  • The friction between hope and reality
  • The gap between what we ask for and what we’re handed
  • The conflict between the heart and the mind

And among all this, we realize how we get used to certain ways that we label as growing up. Deep inside our hearts, we make peace with things that we know won’t happen. We know it when the answer is “Never.”

And we need not be clever to learn that.