I give you now Professor Twist,
A conscientious scientist,
Trustees exclaimed, “He never bungles!”
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile.
“You mean,” he said, “a crocodile.”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ogden Nash's poem The Purist


  1. Phineas Lawrence says:

    Very humorous poem. I laughed, I cried. I was amazed by the insight of poor Professor Twist–even though in deep despair over the untimely demise of his wife, he still held education as his higher calling and carefully corrected and educated his ignorant guide.

  2. Tom Heimerman says:

    So much conveyed in so few words. Great poem. I first heard it from my dad several years ago. It’s now committed to memory. Pretty classy for a guy like me, whose poetry is generally limited to disgusting limericks.

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