Saturday, February 2, 2019

Top 3 Nonsense Poems (Lizzie)

After Laurie's post on C.J. Brightley's The Lord of Dreams, I made haste to buy and read the ebook. (I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it, by the way.) In it, the mad fey king quotes from Lewis Carroll's famous nonsense poem "Jabberwocky," which gave us such words as galumphing and chortle. It made me want to read the poem again and to look a little deeper into nonsense poetry. Whimsy, nonsense words, contradictions--they're all part of what makes nonsense poems fun. They're a great reminder you don't always have to understand something to enjoy it. So I thought I'd share a few entertaining bits of nonsense poetry here.

The Jabberwocky 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!”

The Jabberwock, as illustrated by John Tenniel
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.

Riddle 47, Anglo-Saxon riddle from the Exeter book, about bookworms 

A moth ate some words – it seemed to me
strangely weird – when I heard this wonder:
that it had devoured – the song of a man.
A thief in the thickness of night – gloriously mouthed
the source of knowledge – but the thief was not
the least bit wiser – for the words in his mouth.

Mother Goose's Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle.
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Many nursery rhymes are nonsense. Of course, if you're a fan of Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Tales of Goldstone Wood, you'll know that they really aren't nonsense at all, but prophecy and history and marvelous tales.

Do you have a favorite nonsense poem or word? My grandfather used to greet us with "Good gracious sakes a jiminy!" It always felt like a delightful bit of nonsense and was my favorite greeting; it's much more fun than a simple hello.

1 comment:

  1. I forgot about the jabberwocky poem! I remember reading it in HS. What fun! :)


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