19 comments on “The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things. Lewis Carroll.

  1. Pingback: Reading Poetry in the Big Chief Years « Bluebird Blvd.

  2. OHMAIGAH. So, I loved this piece. I loved that you crossed from your own child understanding of “Jabberwocky” (and other Carroll poems) to asking your own sons what they thought the poem meant.

    I love that you looked up the meaning of Carroll’s words and that you were not unpleasantly surprised by the interpretations. And I loved that you included one of the more (if not the most) strange Muppet Show segments I’ve ever seen.

    As I was a book-loving girl myownself, I especially loved that you also thought books were your friends. Thank you for writing this, Metan. I’ve been singing your praises all over the ‘net tonight, and it was time for me to sit down, gather my thoughts, and (hopefully) express how appreciative I feel that you wrote this beautiful piece. Thank you so, so much.

    • Thank you! 🙂 I am really glad you enjoyed it. I am very glad you made me think about it, my love of the Jabberwock is never far away, but I had not thought about the other Carroll poems for an age. It was so nice to have an excuse to catch up with those old friends!
      I was so scared when I first found those interpretations, it could have ruined it all for me! So glad it didn’t.

      The boys really liked the reading of it, and were thrilled with the Muppet version. No more than I though! As you know I LOVE the Muppets, so to me the combination of the Muppets /and/ the Jabberwock is just heavenly 🙂

      It is funny how many of us quiet book-loving girls there were, we thought we were alone but if we had all banded together we could have taken over the world!!!

      Thank you for spreading the post around and thank you very much for your encouragement!

      • I think you’ve hit upon a really unique angle here, and now I’m beginning to wonder what OTHER fascinating childhood memories you’e got stashed away— about books and art and nature— that book-loving girl world of yours which is still a big part of who you are.

        I’m glad The Muppets is one of our shared threads. Honestly, that show still makes me ridiculously happy! And I’m surprised, now, as I’ve been looking back myself at some other Muppet Show clips, at how well they were able to deal with some really interesting ideas. Grown up ideas, even!

        I’m really hoping that some of the lovely people I know stop by and read your piece on Carroll’s work. Crossing my fingers!

        One more thing— I had the loveliest thought. Even though we quiet book-loving girls didn’t (or couldn’t by dint of distances) band together when we were young, aren’t we taking over the world now? By writing down the world, blog by blog and book by book? And connecting with each other? Maybe I’m being a tad (or a ton) hyperbolic, but it’s a nice thought, yeah?

        • After Jennifer commented yesterday about also being a book-loving girl I thought the same thing. If only we had the opportunity to contact each other in this way back then! Of course that also means social media and children/teenagers, not always a good combination!

          Everything in our lives is influenced by how were were bought up and how we were introduced to concepts either as a child or an adult. Most of us just forget about that though! We think we are only that adult person and forget about that child still tucked away inside. I am happy to say that my child is quite close to the surface. Mostly overridden by the responsible adult I have to be, but she still has quite a say in things 🙂

          I am so glad to find there are other adults out there who also love the Muppets, the more I watch it the more I notice the adult undercurrent that runs through much of it. They were so brilliant in the way they could (and still can) entertain children and adults on both levels at the same time.

          I bought the DVD of the new Muppet movie the other day. Although I desperately want to, I haven’t watched it yet, it is hidden away for a day when the kids and I are looking for something to do. I’m so SO happy that they are still bringing out new stuff 😉

      • Thank you, it is so nice to share things with the kids, especially when they are an appreciative audience! 🙂
        I spent so much of my childhood in my room reading, if only we got that much time to do it now, eh?!

  3. Thanks Metan. I’ve never actually seen the Muppets version of my favourite poem from childhood. Shame on me. I always imagined the borogoves were some kind of swamp. No doubt I associated them with the mangroves or something. I don’t remember ever seeing the picture of the Jabberwocky either before. I assume it was done by Tenniel whom I think used to do Carrol’s illustrations. I do wonder these days if there weren’t a few substances about back then that lent themselves to the odd hallucination, pretty wacky stuff for a vicar. But what the poem lacked in real words it made up for by conjuring up in readers like us vast opportunities to use an imagination so we could hear the sword going snicker-snack without the use of a computer screen or MP3 player.

    • The thing I love about such wonderful nonsense is that any interpretation that makes you happy is correct anyway. I could totally see that borogoves might be like mangroves, mimsy borogoves/miserable mangroves doesn’t sound too wrong to me!

      I’m glad to hear that it was your favourite too, that Tenniel illustration was in my childhood copy of Alice/Looking Glass so it also has a special place in my heart.

  4. I should just quietly slink away around about now because… Lewis Carroll never fired my imagination :/ I was a Peter Pan girl and sooo not into poetry, whimsical or otherwise. Don’t hit me! I’m leaving now….

    • That’s ok, I wasn’t really as much a poetry lover as I was a nonsense lover 🙂 I never loved Alice as much as the rest of the characters, I tolerated her in order to get to the rest of the story….
      Don’t worry, you can stay. Loving the Muppets will mean you are forgiven a multitude of sins! 🙂

  5. What a lovely image, reading poetry to your kids. That never happened in our house: I’m not sure my parents knew any poetry. When I went off to college I didn’t know who Shakespeare was, or Arthur Miller, or Sylvia Path. And then my brain exploded when I was introduced to metaphor and simile (tenets of poetry). Writing poetry was akin to breathing; I saw and thought about the world in juxstapositions. Of all writing genres I think poetry is the mastery of meaning combined with the harmonies of word sounds: it is the highest form of writing and requires discipline. Why the blathering? I didn’t start writing until I was 19. What might’ve happened if I had a mom like you who’s willing to share her favorite things boldly, unafraid of your kids disinterest. Who knows? This might be the start of a poetry career for one of them (which means, of course, he/she will live at home through their 40’s!)

    By the way, clams have feet. Gross, tacky, raw chicken breast in appearance, it’s called a tongue and pulls itself along the lake bottom with it.

    • I don’t think the kids would have been anywhere as interested in serious poetry as they were amused by the sheer nonsense of the Jabberwock! We do try to expose them to many different things though, even things we are not necessarily interested in ourselves. I think that is the job of a parent, to stuff their brains full of things before they turn into sulky teenagers, and I have found the best way to get them interested is to be heavy on the nonsense! 🙂

      Number 2 (aged 9) is a typical ratbag kid, not interested in reading, loves lego, being a ninja and roughousing with his friends but he also has a love of classical music and a wonderfully diverse vocabulary (I was called a patchy papaya when I tucked him in tonight). Number 1 (aged 11) is a ridiculously well behaved child and academically fantastic whose bedroom is becoming that of a rock god with a drum kit and guitars and an electric guitar as his next request.

      There is a good chance that they will both still be living at home when they are 40, poetry career or not!

      I am glad to hear that you found the thing you love, you might not have started writing until you were 19, but imagine if life had never steered you towards it? Imagine all those people out there in the world who never find their ‘thing’ and just have to go on without it.

      (Now I want to know what shape of shoe best fits a chicken breast-tongue-foot!)


      You might like to read http://bluebirdblvd.net/, she is the first commenter on this post and is a wonderful writer who often shares her poetry with us.

    • Really glad you liked it, hearing the Jabberwocky still puts a smile on my face to this day 🙂 Of course the Muppets make anything more amusing again!

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