J = Jabberwocky (A-Z Challenge)

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!” — Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky

I loathe poetry. I know, I know. As a writer-ish it’s like saying that I am a fish who dislikes the hydrogen part of water molecules. Poetic language in prose, however, is acceptable and pleasant. I love the Lord of the Rings, but Tom Bombadil gives me a rash, mange, a brain embolism, bunions, and swimmer’s ear. I think the concept of the character is great and amazing, but that nonsense-spouting, poetry-shitting, skipping blight on humanity could curdle water and putrefy granite. Yet I love the dwarves’ songs, and the goblin song is pure freekin’ genius. But even with the masterpieces of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the poetry is hit or miss with me.

The only exception to this nearly universal dislike of poetry is almost everything in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. I cannot off the top of my head think of a single poem that bugs me. Does that say something about me, that “adult” poetry pisses me off, but “children’s” poetry still tickles me? Probably, but I don’t care.

The best of the best for me is the Jabberwocky. Pure nonsense, utter madness, totally deranged, and utter perfection. Is there a single piece which screams “Wonderland” as much as this poem? A debate could be made…but the debater would be wrong. *cackle*

The original.

The original.

I remember playing Final Fantasy 1, looting, stealing, and rummaging around in random chests I found in caves, only to come across a Vorpal sword. I almost squealed with delight. I wished that it was good against dragons, but they saved that honor for the Wyrmkiller. Still I was thrilled that the sword was in the game and kept it on my Knight long after it lost its usefulness.

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.” — Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky

The jabberwocky was a great dragon-ish creature who has been done and redone many times. Many years ago I found a poster/artwork that I was immediately drawn to. It wasn’t until I got it back home that I read the title. Jabberwocky, by Rodney Matthews (I think you can find it here: http://www.rodneymatthews.com/main.htm) I still have it and, when moving recently, ran across this old, perfectly preserved, totally unmarred poster. I want to hang it up, but cannot decide what place in my room is good enough so that I can always see it.

Love it!

Love it!

There is also the whole universe of American McGee’s Alice and Alice the Madness Returns. These games take the truly frightening, opiate-influenced terror lying not too far under the surface of the Alice books and brought it out. (If you haven’t played them and have a PS3, I suggest you get on it. The original Alice was for the PC and can be a little clunky by today’s standards, but the visuals are still amazing.) There was apparently a version of the Jabberwocky in the second game, and it looks very much like it was Alice meets Aliens.


So, given my feeling about poetry and my high opinion of Alice’s scary-ass adventures (which I could go on about forever), the Jabberwocky is a poem which makes me happy and fuzzy even today. I can still here the Cheshire Cat in the Disney version singing his lunatic, invisible heart out to the beginning and the end of the poem, and so I shall close with it and urge you, if you have somehow not read the poem, to skip on over to Wikipedia and read it there (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabberwocky) or (even better) read the books. Sheesh. They are in the public domain and can be downloaded for free, though I recommend paying a dollar or two (for the Kindle versions) and picking up a version with the original illustrations. Pretty pictures and all that.

“‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.” — Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky


Alternate letter considerations: Jail time, Jaundice.


~ by Darren Endymion on May 12, 2014.

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