Jabberwocky (Lewis Carroll)

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Beware the Jabberwocky
Beware the Jabberwocky – Corrie Haffly


’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.
by Lewis Carroll: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)
Illustration by Corrie Haffly


 This is one my favorite poems from childhood, mostly because my Dad loved it so, and his eyes would twinkle in the telling. We both loved this reading of it by Neil Gaiman, whose own love of the fantastic in story shines in his recital:

However, not all poems with made-up words are magical. If Jabberwocky is the BEST that it gets, Vogon poetry is somewhere among the worst… the third worst poetry in the universe, if you must know.

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3 thoughts on “Jabberwocky (Lewis Carroll)”

    1. I grew up with my Dad reciting it to me… in hindsight, some of the twinkliest moments of my childhood. I have uno doubt it will be the same for your kiddos!

  1. I tend to throw the phrase “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” into conversation, whether apropos the topic or not.

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