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The One-Hoss Shay

The One-Hoss Shay by Oliver Wendell Holmes

The One-Hoss Shay by Oliver Wendell Holmes is a whimsical and humorous poem that tells the story of a sturdy, well-built carriage that eventually collapses into a heap of dust and debris after exactly one hundred years of use. The poem uses clever wordplay and rhyme to humorously illustrate the concept of planned obsolescence.

Holmes uses vivid imagery and personification to bring the inanimate carriage to life, making it a central character in the poem. The poem's structure is unique and engaging, with each stanza building upon the previous one to create a sense of inevitability leading to the shay's eventual demise.

Overall, The One-Hoss Shay is a delightful read that showcases Holmes' wit and creativity. It serves as a lighthearted commentary on the fleeting nature of material possessions and the inevitability of decay.

Book Description:
This is a small collection of whimsical poems by the American physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. "The Deacon's Masterpiece" describes the "logical" outcome of building an object (in this case, a two-wheeled carriage called a shay) that has no weak points. The economic term "one hoss shay," referring to a certain model of depreciation, derives its name from this poem. "How the Old Horse Won the Bet" is a lighthearted look at a horse race. Finally, "The Broomstick Train" is a wonderfully Halloween-y explanation of how an electric tram really works.

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