The Jabberwocky

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.
 .
Those chilling words that cause me to trill with joy and immediately chant them out loud, creating illusions of monsters and woods and daring heros.

jabberwocky

I am, as anyone can tell you, an avid reader. I love the written word and drink it up as though it were tea (which is an awful lot). I get so caught up in stories, and characters, and new worlds, both real and fantasy. I go on journeys with them. I feel their every moment of pain and joy, their hopes and their fears. I lose myself so completely that dragging myself back to the surface and the real world can be a very arduous task.

This said, poetry has never been my thing. I have tried many times to love poetry, but more often than not, I find myself glancing at it perfunctorily and moving swiftly on . I have bought books of Shakespeare, modern poetry, of classic poetry but it rarely sticks. I find it boring, or too short, or too abstract. I find it takes a lot for a poem to really grab me.

Having said that however, over the years I have amassed a handful of truly wonderful poems which I do love. They are some of them well known such as ‘The Highwayman’ (which never fails to leave the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end) or ‘The Cat in the Hat’ (which generations of children and adults alike will continue to enjoy for years to come). Some of them are less well known like ‘My Dog Tray’ (which leaves me bawling every time I read it). All are dear to me though. Perhaps I have been unkind to the world of poetry overall. There are some that I love and I’m sure there are many more out there I could warm to, if not love one day. Perhaps that can be my summer challenge for myself (along with learning to ride a bike), to widen my horizons, open my mind. To embrace and attempt to add to my collection of loved poetry.

There are two poems however which I truly love. These I have memorised in full, and have even given performances of to actual living audiences (not just being my parents). One of those is ‘The Ning Nang Nong’ by Spike Milligan (a WONDERFUL nonsense poem that everyone should acquaint themselves with if you don’t know it), and the other, I’m sure you all know well, is the Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. I adore reading this poem aloud. Creating drama using only rhythm, intonation and volume.
 .
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.
 .
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”
 .
He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long 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:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

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