“Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face” by Jack Prelutsky

Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.
Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.
Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.
Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.
Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place—
be glad your nose is on your face!
Perhaps it is the child in me that I refuse to let go of, but this poem was one of my favorites of the year. This poem follows an ABAB rhyme scheme and seems to be quite elementary. However, this humorous poem which seems to be aimed at children actually has an inspiring and uplifting underlying message. Using the nose as a metaphor for something that we have in our lives, Preluntsky delivers the message to the reader to be grateful for what you have, and be aware that changing these things could bring about disastrous consequences. By being grateful that our nose is on our face the poet is telling us to be grateful for the little things in life and learning to appreciate everything we have such as where we live, our family, or friends, and even just being grateful for being able to wake up in the morning. This poem really makes me think about everything I’ve been blessed with and all the opportunities I have had in my life.
The flow of the poem is natural and uncomplicated which propels the poem forward. Both of the effects the rhyme scheme has on the readability of the poem are crucial to gaining the attention of the target audience. Additionally, the rhyme scheme works well with the topical nature of the poem  and gives the poem a feeling of playfulness. However, the structure also provides focus as it allows the reader to center attention on the two rhyming lines at hand. As result, readers of the poem truly engage with it and end up grasping the underlying meaning.
The poet refers to the nose as precious and important and humorously places it in the most peculiar places around the body; the feet, the head and the ear. When the poet describes the nose as being ‘sandwiched in between your toes’, he evokes both an image of comedy and also discomfort at the thought of being ‘forced to smell your feet.’ This state of discomfort ultimately delivers the message that changing the position of something that is important in your life could hold very irreversible consequences, so we should be grateful for the things we have and try not to change aspects of our life to perfect them because sometimes things are the way they are for a reason. A lot of the time in life, we all easily overlook we have been blessed with as well all the positive aspect aspects of our life and focus on the negatives. We spend so much time trying to fix things that we feel are negative when in reality those things have happened for a reason and we should not dwell on it. Our desire to try and fix change everything can often be overwhelming, but the poet describes many consequences of change in  a playful manner throughout this poem.
He does this when he says nose would be a source of dread  were it attached atop your head, it soon would drive you to despair,  forever tickled by your hair. Then he does it again when he says Within your ear, your nose would be an absolute catastrophe, for when you were obliged to sneeze, your brain would rattle from the breeze.  What the poet is doing here is demonstrating that it can be dangerous to attempt to change something that was perfectly fine/ or meant to be the way it is to begin with.
The reason why I love this poem so much is because it can be read or related to by many age groups. This poem can teach young children the importance of appreciating everything that you have. For younger children, this may be having their favorite toys, friends, and parents.As for an older age group, this poem could allow them how grateful they should be for having a good job or career, a nice house, or a nice car. The overarching them of gratefulness, reminds us that through appreciating what we have, rather than focusing on what we do not or what we wish to change, we can truly be content and happy  in life.
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One thought on ““Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face” by Jack Prelutsky

  1. Sherein, As always, a very insightful analysis of this poem. Perhaps it would have been useful to explore in a bit more detail the how, the humor, of the poem and how that plays into the message–why the message coming at us straight–not in metaphor, not with humor–would be less effective?

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