Lewis Carroll’s JABBERWOCKY



Talking about poetry—must mention Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.

The greatest nonsense poem in the English language

The words create a discernible narrative structure, but we don’t know what they symbolize because standard syntax and poetic form is combined with linguistic ambiguity. Hey, is that like Cowboy Talk?

“It seems pretty but it’s hard to understand. Somehow it fills my head with ideas—only I don’t know exactly what they are,” says Alice.

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 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.

Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm  Comments (3)  
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COWBOY TALK VERSION OF THE SLAM MASTER


Boulder’s Naropa University has me buffaloed.  The Naropian slam masters had never encountered Western Fiction or the Cowboy Poets.  I’m not a poet, but I registered for slam master Bob Holman’s class.  The New Yorker has dubbed Holman “The Ringmaster of the Spoken Word.”   He had us translating and slamming poetry written in dead and dying languages into contemporary English.  

They knew nothing of Cowboy Talk, an endangered language barely hanging on here in the West.  As an effort in preservation, I translated one of the slam master’s sonnets into our Cowboy Talk.

Birthday Praise Sonnet for Marc Levin, Original by Bob Holman, 2001

Mark my words

Leven the bread

Half a century’s nothing, the Wise Man said

When the slam slams

When the blowback blows

Lights speed action rolls rolls rolls

The Party will Last

                                The Future’s simulcast

And we’ll Babble On

                                With our Icon O’Class

Mark my words

Leaven the bread

Half a century’s something, the Wise Man said

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Birthday Praise Sonnet for Marc Levin, Cowboy Talk translation, 2010 

Mark my palaver

Leaven up the bannock

Your cinch ain’t getting’ frayed, the Ol’ Hoss brayed

When the rustlers rustle

When the coulies overflow

Foot up in the stirrup and getty-up-go

The Roundup’s gonna Last

                                        Ta’morra’s comin’ Fast

And we’ll jus’ Gallop On

                                         With our Cowboy Lexicon

Quit spittin’ on ya lasso

Saddle up the Paint

Your cinch is gettin’ frayed, the Ol’ Hoss brayed