Friday, February 25, 2011

Poetry Friday: "O Frabjous Day!"

'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!"

My husband, an amateur actor, loves to recite these lines (and all the rest of them) from Lewis Carroll's remarkable poem "Jabberwocky." People who only know my husband's everyday persona -- gentle, shy -- are often astounded into silence when they first get a glimpse of his confident, humorous acting persona. I've long since reconciled the two parts of his personality, loving them both, but I still delight in seeing jaws drop when my husband moves into actor mode. It's one reason I enjoy this poem so much.

And now here's another...the other day I came across this delightful ASL version of the poem. "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" I must confess I have never heard of ASL poetry until recently, and I am completely fascinated. It seems to combine all sorts of skills: poetry making, translation, performance art.

Today's poetry roundup is at Read Write Believe.


Elouise82 said...

"Jabberwocky" always makes me think of Jane of Lantern Hill, where even sheltered and stifled Jane knows what "brillig" means, and also of Lord Peter Wimsey, whose favorite expression when delighted was "O frabjous day!" An odd combination, but it just goes to show that Carroll's works have penetrated every corner of society!

Beth said...

A wonderful point! I don't know how I'd forgotten that Lord Peter uses "O frabjous day!" but it sounds just like him. :) I love Lord Peter!

True confessions: I've never read Jane of Lantern Hill, though I've heard such lovely things about it. It's been in my TBR pile for ages.

Sara said...

One of my best friends in high school performed this in drama competitions, so I heard it often---and well. It's impossible not to love this poem, I think. It brings out the playful side of all of us.

Don said...

Fascinating! I followed most of it, but I particularly loved "...and as in uffish thought he stood, the Jaberwock, with eyes of flame..." I, too, love to recite Jaberwocky, although no one would drop a jaw at my apparent dual personality!

Erin said...

Such a great poem! Funny how it can be simultaneously incomprehensible and totally understandable...

Marjorie said...

I once stunned a class I was supply teacher to into incredulous silence with the Jabberwocky - such a wonderful poem. And the amazing ASL version you point to just goes to show that it is completely clear what it all means!

Tabatha said...

Hi Beth! Thanks for pointing us to that ASL version -- wonderful! It's almost like dancing the Jabberwocky.

Beth said...

Sara, I think you're right -- there is a delightful playfulness to this poem!

Don, I'd love to hear you recite it. I promise I'd even let my jaw drop. :)

Erin, you're right. For a poem that could be described (at least in its language) as nonsensical, the narrative makes so much sense!

Marjorie and Tabatha, glad you enjoyed the ASL version - and thanks for stopping by!