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Jen’s Life in Books: Poetry


Next up in our Life in Books series, it’s my turn to share a poem that I loved as a young child. Can you guess which one from the image? Keep reading to find out!

I’ve never been a huge lover of poetry, which is odd since I enjoy lyrical and poetic writing in novels. But when Book Worm selected poetry for our next Life in Books, I immediately thought of the one poem that I loved as a child and that I can still recite to this day!

Lewis Carroll 

’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.
When I was around 10 or 11, I was in a school play of Alice in Wonderland. And while I was devastated after being relegated to role of fish instead of Alice (a fact I angrily believed was solely due to my not having blond hair), I loved every minute of the play but, more than anything, I vividly remember reciting this poem non-stop for what my parents probably thought was a tortuously and seemingly never-ending period.

My debut as fish in Alice in Wonderland. If you look closely, you’ll see the top of my head behind the child in all white

Is my love of this mostly nonsensical poem any indication of who I was to become as a reader? Most definitely. While I read a lot of realist literary fiction, I have a soft spot for the absurd, the whimsical, and the quirky. Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors  and I love the absurdity of Kafka’s works. My love of Alice in Wonderland is perhaps the perfect example of how styles I loved as a child continue to be significant for me as an adult reader.
Now that Book Worm and I have shared poems we remember loving as children, it’s your turn. What poems do you remember loving as a child? Are there any poems you can still recite today?
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