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Poetry Week – Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

World Poetry DayWorld Poetry Day takes place on 21st March. I’m posting five of my favourite poems this week – what are your favourites?

Though I’m not exactly an Alice in Wonderland superfan, Lewis Carroll is probably my favourite poet because I am a huge fan of nonsense poetry. Give me some Boosh, give me some DaDa, I will be all over it.

Jabberwocky was the first nonsense poem I read and analyzed at school. To this day I still sing the opening verse the way the Cheshire Cat does in the Disney film.

Though Lewis Carroll’s made up words “supposedly” have actual meanings based on arcane English words that may or may not ressemble Carroll’s, I always found it more fun to sit with a group of friends and interpret the words in our own ways then share results. We’d each draw what we thought a ‘borogrove’ or a ‘mome rath’ was, and I think I always ended up with mole-like, burrowing creatures. And before you ask, there was no point in drawing what we thought the Jabberwock looked like because our books had an illustration of it, so…

I memorised Jabberwocky when I was eight for a school performance and I still remember most of it.

I still can’t get through it without singing, though!

`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, has 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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