Thursday, October 2, 2008

last day of school!

Well, for my subjects, yes. Final exams will be next week.

We got kinda dizzy in our tradition of poetry class, so many authors and works that we took up! Sometimes I'm completely duh, unable to figure out what the poem is all about. Every now and then we have eureka moments when some truth would dawn upon us. One of my favorite times in our class would be when our teacher, the revered poet, Myrna Pena-Reyes, would rave and swoon over her favorite passages. Here's one woman who does love poetry! It is quite a privilege for us to be her students this sem. She used to teach literature in Oregon but decided to retire here in Dumaguete, and fortunately for us, she was prevailed upon by the English Department to teach poetry again.

Let me share with you a fun poem by Lewis Carroll entitled...


'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.

So, what do you think of the poem? Does it make sense? Well, if it did not, you are right! It is a nonsense poem. And the strange words are words that Lewiss Carroll made up way back in his lifetime in 1832-1898. But if you said that it made some sense, then you are also right! Because some important literary people consider Jabberwocky as the greatest nonsense poem written in the English language. Meaning it must have made some kind of sense to them. ;p

Here are some "aids to understanding" this special English language.

Bandersnatch – A swift moving creature with snapping jaws, capable of extending its neck.

Borogove – A thin shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round, "something like a live mop". The initial syllable of borogove is pronounced as in borrow, rather than as in burrow

Brillig – Four o'clock in the afternoon: the time when you begin broiling things for dinner.

Burbled – Possibly a mixture of "bleat", "murmur", and "warble". Burble is also pre-existing word, circa 1303, meaning to form bubbles as in boiling water.

Chortled - Combination of chuckle and snort.

Frabjous - Probably a blend of fair, fabulous, and joyous .
Frumious – Combination of "fuming" and "furious."

Galumphing - Perhaps a blend of "gallop" and "triumphant". Used to describe a way of "trotting" down hill, while keeping one foot further back than the other. This enables the Galumpher to stop quickly.

Gimble – To make holes as does a gimlet.

Gyre – To go round and round like a gyroscope. However, Carroll also wrote in Mischmasch that it meant to scratch like a dog.

Jubjub – A desperate bird that lives in perpetual passion.

Manxome – Fearsome; the word is of unknown origin.

Mimsy – Combination of "miserable" and "flimsy".

Mome – Possibly short for "from home," meaning that the raths had lost their way.

Slithy – Combination of "slimy" and "lithe."The i is long, as in writhe.

Tove – A combination of a badger, a lizard, and a corkscrew. They are very curious looking creatures which make their nests under sundials and eat only cheese. Pronounced so as to rhyme with groves. Note that "gyre and gimble," i.e. rotate and bore, is in reference to the toves being partly corkscrew by Humpty Dumpty's definitions.

Tulgey - Thick, dense, dark.

Uffish – A state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish

Vorpal - See vorpal sword.

Wabe – The grass plot around a sundial. It is called a "wabe" because it goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it, and a long way beyond it on each side.


Dominique said...

Jabberwocky is popular in geek circles as well. I know someone who's memorized the entire poem. And "vorpal blade" made its way into Nethack, a dungeons-and-dragons-like text-based game.

ness said...

As in! Mao ba diay, Doms? Daan pa gyud ko, this is a real catchy poem no wonder it has appeal to certain kinds of people, apil na ang mga geeky ones. Basin hapit na pud ko ma belong sa mga geeks ani. ;-p

Vk-mahalkaayo said...

danke, danke, dr ness.

bitaw, lisod sabton, pero duna thoughts.....

nice poem....mora ko galakaw sa forest, observing the moving things....

thanks for sharing...........