A Few of Our Favorite Things: Jabberwocky

Home in Houston but still on holiday, enjoying my favorite things.

by Lewis Carroll

’T WAS 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.

’T was brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

And while we're on the subject of Dadaist tone poems...


Back in my teaching days, I used to divide my sixth graders into groups and have each one create a glossary and illustrate a stanza on huge sheets of bulletin-board paper. Since their glossary had to include the pronunciation, part of speech, definition, and a sentence, it was a fun way to incorporate a lot of deadly-dull stuff, and illustrating and presenting it brought language to life. They had to memorize, too, and they had lots of fun doing a group recital with it. Well, *most* of them had fun, anyway. But since they were sixth graders, not all of them copped to it. :)

Welcome home.
Joni Rodgers said…
Lucky kids to have an English teacher who truly loves the taste and feel of words words words.

I memorized the Jabberwocky when I was six; my big brother was going through this phase during which he tormented me by mimicking everything I said. When I read that poem, I knew I could bollix him with it. Got a bit of help with pronunciations from my first grade teacher, Miss Marguerite Hammish, spent many hours in my "fort" under the willow tree, nailed it down, and -- wha-BAM! -- hit him with it one day when he was making fun of me. My teenage bro was stumped, then quickly learned it, but he was so impressed by my effort that he stopped razzing me. We still recite it back and forth to each other on the rare and precious occasions we meet.
Criminy, you learned "Jabberwocky" at SIX? I was still happily enjoying Dr. Seuss and Curious George at that age, thank you very much. And my beloved Little Golden Books.

You were one precocious kiddo. :)

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