Poetic Spotlight: The Jabberwocky

Curiouser and curiouser…that’s the theme this week as featured previously on dVerse Poets Pub, with a few words from one of England’s wackiest writers: Lewis Caroll. The author of the legendary Alice in Wonderland – a staple engrained into the very heart of modern western culture – one of his most famous creations actually came within its sequel, in the form of a poem: “The Jabberwocky.”

Nonsense is the name of the game – and this work is considered one of the greatest bits of whimsy and fancy produced by the English language…comprised of many made-up yet perfect words. Many of them words that have since entered into the actual language. Ever wonder, after all, where the word “chortle” came from?

Get ready to get silly.


” ‘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.”

~Lewis Caroll


5 thoughts on “Poetic Spotlight: The Jabberwocky

  1. I ADORE this poem. I tried to write a poem once upon a time sort of in the same style, but my best friend said it sucked.

    ***40 minutes later*** (Picture Wayne’s World-esque diddly-doo, diddly-do, diddly-do time travel.)

    I just spent the last almost-hour on MySpace dredging up said poem. I think it’s better than my friend gave me credit for. I may post it on one of my blogs.

    • You can time travel? Fantastic! And hey, with these sorts of things, it’s always best to be able to come back to them later with an unobstructed eye…mayhaps your friend was just having an off-day back in the day?

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