April 12, 2016

Friday, December 25, 2009

Poetry Friday: I heart Jabberwocky

At last... my daughter is reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. She avoided it (but not my renditions of "Beautiful Soup") because she said the original illustrations freaked her out. Alice's long neck is kind of scary.

But this school year, she's participating in the Maryland Engineering Challenges. The fourth grade competition is to build a working theme park ride model based on a book. Love that combination of literature and engineering (Charles Dodgson would have too). Guess what her team picked! I'm picturing Alice log-fluming down the tunnel into a pool of tears.

I adored Alice growing up. Freshman art in high school, my calligraphy project was a poster with the text of "Jabberwocky," illustrated with an Excalibur-style Vorpal Blade. Somehow, writing those letters carefully in India Ink, I memorized the poem. Amazing what Lewis Carol knew: the hero narrative is embedded deep enough in all of us to carry the reader through unfamiliar words like frumious, mimsy, tulgey and calooh.

I can still recite it, almost 30 years later! The kids are impressed. Wait until I show them this clip of the Muppets performing the poem.

by Lewis Carroll

`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.

Have a wonderful Christmas, those of you celebrating today. The Poetry Friday round-up is at Book Aunt today.

My gift this year is being able to share a beloved book with my girl. I'll post photos of Alice, the theme park ride, when my daughter's team starts building.


Mary Lee said...

I LOVE the combination of literature and engineering! BRILLIANT! (Or, better, maybe "BRILLIG"!)

Author Amok said...

Brillig -- ha ha! It's a great program. My son did it when he was in 4th grade. They built a spiral coaster for the dragon fighting competition in Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire. Can't wait to see what the girls create.

Unknown said...

Laura, the YA/MG contest at that ends today or tomorrow (the website gives conflicting reports) wants and requires everyone to post two links in writers' forums or blogs etc. Here's the link:

I tried to insert the code she wants inserted to make the hyperlink, but your message posting software will not allow me to post anything that includes h t t p. My technological inadequacy probably disqualifies me!


P.S. I too am mad about and memorized parts of Jabberwocky that I regular quote at trainings. I created a whole training activity called "Jabberwocky." And I laughed here to see engineering connected to theme rides and Alice!!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Marjory. I hope she'll count your post anyway. I'm in NY for SCBWI. Have an editor open to subs (briefly) to share with you -- looking for fantasy. I'm glad that we are friends in Alice. Have you ever check out the blog "7 impossible things" before breakfast?