Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lewis Carrroll - Poetry

Hey, I know this one!  The next poem is 'The Jabberwocky' by Lewis Carroll.  Earlier this year, in an attempt to interest my two oldest kids (6 and 3) in poetry, I had them listen to this poem.  They didn't take right to it, but months later, they still remember it.

'Twwas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the boroboves
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beare the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Lon time the manxome foe he sought-
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
And mimsly were the borogobes,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

What a fun poem!  Carroll very freely made up his own words (my spellchecker has no fewer than 42 words that it doesn't like here) but it all makes sense.  The scene of the 'tulgey' wood is very clear in my head.  The only other author I can think of who could simply create such large numbers of words and still be perfectly understood is Shakespeare.
Are there phrases that have stuck in the culture?  Sure, plenty of them.  The first two words, 'Twas brillig' is completely recognizable.  For months now, I've been calling one of my sons 'my beamish boy' when he does well.  And I think D&D straight up ran with the idea of the vorpal blade.  And somewhat related, but I think that Frumious Bandersnatch would be a wonderful name for a cat.
I love this poem and it fully deserves its recognition and honor.

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