Mary Matlack: A favorite poem

Jabberwocky
by Lewis Carroll

When I was in 4th grade at Saratoga School, my teachers Mrs. Hendry and Mr. Gallagher asked us to memorize a poem. My family helped me pick “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. It took weeks to memorize, but I did it and embellished the performance by holding a flashlight under my chin and turning out the lights. When it came time for me to read the poem, I  could not do it. The teachers understood, and in another few weeks, I was able to recite the poem. I recite it for my children now and they love it. I love the language and the mood it creates.

Mary Matlack
Mother
San Jose


Jabberwocky

‘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 a while 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!
Oh 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 Carroll
(1832-1898)

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