"Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face" is a poem written by John Prelutsky. Prelutsky, a writer of children’s poetry, published this piece in 1940. The fact he is a children’s writer indicates his poems have a whimsical tone. This is evident upon reading this poem but it also becomes clear that it contains an important message for children to learn and understand. Though the poem’s writing focuses on the body, its meaning flows into that of living with gratitude and appreciation.
The poem is split into five stanzas, each composed of four lines. Each stanza follows an AABB rhyme scheme. An AABB scheme is easy to follow and entertaining, both of which are highly important and motivating to children. 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 gives the poem to give it 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 poem begins by stating, "Be glad your nose is on your face, / not pasted on some other place" to immediately set an idea down for the rest of the poem. It then continues to detail what it would be like to have your nose elsewhere on your body. While reading the poem, the reader goes on a journey of imagining what would happen should a person’s nose be on the feet, on top of the head, or in the ear. This is shown through clever examples and descriptions of the experience of having the nose placed somewhere other than your face. The lines "Imagine if your precious nose / were sandwiched in between your toes," "Your nose would be a source of dread / were it attached atop your head," and "Within your ear, your nose would be / an absolute catastrophe" give the reader a clear image of how and why the nose’s real placement is perfect. It is a lighthearted and fun read that can certainly provide a laugh. This is what is clear from the poem at the first and literal reading.
However, the reader should not mistake the jolly rhythm of the poem to mean it does not convey an important message. When paying closer attention to the message behind the literal words, the reader can begin to understand the importance of gratitude. The speaker of the poem begins by stating the reader should be glad for something as it is, rather than wishing it would change. The poem then goes on to highlight how a change could actually leave the reader much less happy than he or she currently is. This idea is shown straight away in the last two lines of the first stanza, "for if it were where it is not, you might dislike your nose a lot." This is an important lesson for children to learn and adults to remember. It is the type of truth that should be taken to heart by all. People constantly wish for more or for something different rather than taking the time to be thankful for what they do have. They do not take the time to figure out why something exists or it does, what kind of function or purpose it serves, and how fortunate that is.
The speaker of the poem also urges the reader to consider thinking in a somewhat unconventional manner. To begin with, the poem explores an interesting and quirky notion of the nose being somewhere on the human body other than the face. This, in and of itself, is not conventional. In addition, this could also be viewed as being done in good fun. Either way, it opens the mind and imagination of the reader. Now, with an open mind and flowing imagination, the reader is able to delve deeper into the poem’s meaning. This is a deeper layer of unconventional thinking that requires analysis beyond what is simply laid out on the page. Sometimes, we take the situations we face in life as negative happenings or something for granted. The strange viewpoint of picturing life with your nose elsewhere also encourages you to think of what life would be like if something you constantly desire to change actually did. It is important to take the time to understand things happen as they do for a reason and sometimes we do not understand what that reason is. That does not mean it is unfavorable or should be overlooked. Just as you may not give much thought to the placement of your nose, you may not give full thought to the reason you experience the things you do. This is an extremely valuable and essential life lesson a child should pick up from an early age.
This poem takes the reader on an adventure of imagining the body being shaped arranged differently than it is in a fun, simple way. Though it may seem strange, it also manages to take a topic that is extremely important and essential to life and transform it into something even children can enjoy and learn from. The way the poem reads makes it enjoyable and widens the possibility of its message being delivered to a larger audience. It is amusing, playful, and holds significance. It may not seem like it at first glance, but the form, method, and words Prelutsky used ended up being quite relevant to the idea conveyed if the read "between the lines." Though Prelutsky writes poetry for children, his skill and talent make it so that his poems are found to be enjoyable by adults as well.
The overarching theme of "Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face" is thankfulness. It is through appreciating what we have, rather than focusing on what we do not or what we wish to change, that we can truly be content in life. We often want to believe if we just had one missing thing, slightly changed a situation, or forgot an experience we might be better off. We often fail to realize the actual impact such adjustments may have on life and do not stop to think those effects could be highly negative or make no difference at all.