Poetry Friday: Jabberwocky

JabberwockyIt’s almost Halloween, so I wanted to post something scary! The poem that scared the snot out of me when I was a kid (and still gives me chills when I read it in a quiet room or hear it well recited) was “Jabberwocky” from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. This is one of those poems that has become more than I think it’s author ever imagined it would be. Words he made up for the poem are used in conversation (especially among kids, there’s whole papers on this topic) and the poem itself is quoted all the time and frequently in the most surprising of places. I don’t think I even realized when I first heard it that the words in it weren’t real words. They flow so perfectly and I was so young, why would it occur to me they might be nonsense words? They were just words I didn’t know yet. But it’s a completely awesome poem. My husband quotes it frequently and counts it among his favorite pieces of literature.

Jabberwocky

‘Twas brilling, 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 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 brilling, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Have a great before-Halloween weekend everyone! Make sure to check out the round up over at Literary Safari and see what everyone else is posting today!

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2 Comments

  1. TadMack said,

    October 27, 2007 at 11:41 am

    (Aargh! Halloween next week! Don’t remind me! )

    Still my all-time favorite nonsense poem of all time. Thanks for this.

  2. Literary Safari » Poetry Friday Roundup - Fall(ing) Leaves, Halloween, and So Much More said,

    October 27, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    [...] Rebecca of Ipsa Dixit offers up “The Utter Zoo Alphabet” by Edward Gorey. Read it side-by-side with “Jabberwocky” at Rosepixie. [...]

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