Summertime IS Itchy Time…

 My mom used to read the Ogden Nash poem entitled “Man Bites Dog-Days” to us in summery, itchy weather*–and when she read the line ‘someone murmured, do not scratch it,’ we’d groan and continue scratching the various welts and bumps and lumps that marred our shins and marked us as children who spent a lot of time outdoors in the woods and the creeks of the rural South.

*Summery, itchy weather usually starts in spring and runs into the fall…


More good advice from Mr. Nash, in a T-shirt from

In honor of my many, many mosquito bites over the years–including the ones I have right at this moment–here’s poet Ogden Nash’s take on the summer season:

Ogden Nash   

In this fairly temperate clime
Summertime is itchy time.
O’er rocks and stumps and ruined walls
Shiny poison ivy crawls.
Every walk in woods and fields
It’s aftermath of itching yeilds.
Hand me down my rusty hatchet;
Someone murmured, Do not scratch it.

Reason permeates my rhyme
Summertime is itchy time.
Beneath the orange August moon
Overfed mosquitoes croon.
After sun-up, flied and midges
Raise on people bumps and ridges.
Hand me down my rusty hatchet
Someone murmured, Do not scratch it.

Lo, the year is in its prime;
Summer time is itchy time.
People loll upon the beaches
Ripening like gaudy peaches.
Friends, the beach is not the orchard,
Nor is the peach by sunburn tortured.
Hand me down my rusty hatchet
Someone murmured, Do not scratch it.

Now the menu is sublime;
Summertime is itchy time.
Berries, clams, and lobsters tease
Our individual allergies.
Rash in rosy splendor thrives,
Running neck-and-neck with hives.
Hand me down my rusty hatchet
Someone murmured, Do not scratch it.

The bluebells and the cowbells chime;
Summertime is itchy time.
Despite the cold soup, and ice, and thermoses,
Garments cling to epidermises.
That fiery-footed centipede,
Prickly heat prowls forth to feed.
Hand me down my rusty hatchet
Someone murmured, Do not scratch it.

Hatchet-killings ain’t a crime:
Summertime is itchy time

Many thanks to for featuring the poem as their August 17, 2000 blog post so I could borrow it and not have to type in the whole thing myself–much appreciated!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Ella says:

    How delightfully timely, to read this on a rather hot day with the promise of many more such days to come.

    Thank you for reminding me of why I like the trenchant Mr Nash so much (‘You Can’t Get There From Here’). If you are in the mood to celebrate American humor, may I remind you of someone who ought not be forgotten? Don Marquis. Somehow the wry summer observations reminded me a bit of Archie’s rhyming commentaries on life, politics and, of course, the cockroachiness of existence.

    Well done, I look forward to reading whatever you post.

    1. ltbrwnhare says:

      Delighted that you enjoyed a visit–albeit brief (and a little itchy!) with Mr. Nash; we cut our teeth on him, so to speak and he’s firmly woven into the odd-but-interesting fabric of our lives (perhaps a crazy quilt with bits of everything from gold thread to yak hair stitched in?)…

      I don’t know Don Marquis (horrors!) but rest assured I soon will! Thank you for taking the time to read my posts–that’s a great kindness in a busy world!

  2. Beverly says:

    I’m chucking at the irony… I just sat down to enjoy your post, after putting my ten-year old in to soak in a tepid, oatmeal bath. She of course, has a terrible case of the summery itchys!

    1. ltbrwnhare says:

      Was just reminscing with a friend today about my unspeakable case of adult chicken pox, in which I looked like a leper and felt as if I was being dragged by my eyelids over a cheese grater. I hope S’s itchery is swiftly soothed, never to return!

      P.S. Would baking soda and oatmeal and Calamine Lotion be considered protective charms against “itchcraft?” Hahahahaha!

  3. Hello, I stumbled on this site from stumbleupon. It is not blog post I would normally read, but I liked your spin on it. Thanks for creating something worth reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s