[PW] Ogden Nash's Song of the Open Road: Indeed/Perhaps?

d-lien University of Minnesota d-lien at umn.edu
Sat Apr 11 15:45:50 PDT 2015


I don't have the book, but a  search on Hathi Trust for "perhaps
unless the billboards fall" indicates that said phrase does indeed
appear there on p.66.

The phrase also shows up in the 1935 volume THE NEW YORKER BOOK OF
VERSE, so presumably first published there (as much of Nash's work
was), but I didn't find a hit for the phrase in the magazine itself.
(Hathi, of course, while it includes indexes millions of items,
doesn't have everything, so that's mildly surprising but does not
necessarily indicate it did not appear originally in the THE NEW
YORKER).

I also tried looking for the "indeed" version and a NEW YORKER hit in
Hathi, but didn't find one.  So it looks as though perhaps it was
indeed perhaps at first, and indeed only became indeed later, perhaps.


Dennis Lien / d-lien at umn.edu


On Sat, Apr 11, 2015 at 1:59 PM,  <sakishler at aol.com> wrote:
>
> As part of celebrating National Poetry Month Today, I posted this poem today on Facebook reading this:
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> "I think that I shall never see
> A billboard lovely as a tree
> Pehaps unless the billboards fall
> I'll never see a tree at all. "
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> A friend commented, saying the "perhaps" was a misquote, and the poem should read:
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> "I think that I shall never see
> A billboard lovely as a tree
> Indeed, unless the billboards fall
> I'll never see a tree at all."
>
> I believe my friend is correct that this is how the poem is published in 1940's collection the "Face is Familiar." However, I also see that the poem was also published ealier in 1933's "Happy Days,"  which I don't have access to right now. I was wondering - can anyone on this list confirm whether the poem contained the word "indeed" or "perhaps" in that publication? If "perhaps" is a misquote, it does get misquoted awfully frequently.
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> Thanks!
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> Sarah
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