'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves....

Just as Tolkien and the Inklings used to meet at The Bird and the Baby, come in here to converse about whatever might be on your mind. This is the place for all off-topic conversation.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves....

Postby Impenitent » Sun Jul 04, 2004 8:48 pm

....Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


That's the first verse of Jabberwocky! by Lewis Carroll. I'm sure most people recognise from Alice In Wonderland.

It is also one of the first bits of classic nonsense poetry I ever read and learnt by heart as a child, full of delicious made-up words but still made the skin on the back of my neck shiver pleasurably! :D

I can still recite the whole thing by heart in my deepest, most macabre tone of voice, while acting out all the most exciting bits ("One, two! One, two! And through and through...The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!") :D

What's your favourite bit of nonsense rhyme? Share if you like...

EDIT: I've removed the rest of the poem - I suspect all that text is a little off-putting.
Last edited by Impenitent on Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Rider of the Mark

Posts: 865
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 8:55 pm

Postby Impenitent » Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:22 pm

Okay...another :D

The glow that is a firefly's flame
Is something for which science has no name.
I can think of nothing eerier
Than flying around with an unidentified glow on one's posterior.
by Ogden Nash
User avatar
Rider of the Mark

Posts: 865
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 8:55 pm

Postby Stupid_Orcs » Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:38 pm

I love the Jabberwoky! It's one of my most favorite poems of all time.

One of my favorite nonsense poems is by William Carlos Williams:

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

How cool is it that you write a simple note to your wife and it becomes poetry? That's where I'd like to be as a writer. :D

Edited because I forgot my other favorite nonsense poem by WCW:

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white
Last edited by Stupid_Orcs on Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Ranger of the North

Posts: 1438
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:11 am

Postby vison » Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:44 pm

Matilda, who told lies and was burned to death......by Hillaire Belloc. (I think.) It makes me laugh just typing the name "Matilda". "And every time she shouted 'Fire!!!', they only answered, 'Little liar!'....."

Or, Jim, who disobeyed his nurse and was eaten by a lion: "With that, the wretched child expired...."

Or, Jack and his pony Tom. Or, Tom and his pony Jack.

Hillaire Belloc has a lot to answer for.

"Little lamb, do you know where you am?
In a patch of mint.
I'll give you a hint:
Scram, lamb." (Ogden Nash)

I shall spare you more, but I could go on all night. :)
User avatar

Posts: 12696
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 6:15 pm

Postby Stupid_Orcs » Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:59 pm

Just a side note, Impenitent, your name reminds me of the line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, "The penitent man shall pass, the penitent man shall pass, a penitent man KNEELS!"

Oh, and I just thought of another great poem:

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
who would not take the garbage out

by Shel Silverstein.

I remember that poem because my parents would accuse me of being Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout. I hated taking the garbage out. ;)
User avatar
Ranger of the North

Posts: 1438
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:11 am

Postby MaidenOfTheShieldarm » Mon Jul 05, 2004 5:28 am

I love This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams as well. But S_O already posted that one. :roll: So I won't. :P

But I love anything by William Carlos Wiliams, and most of his poems don't make a good deal of sense unless you analyze them a lot. I think his most non sensical is probably A Sort of Song, which goes like this...

Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
--through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent!
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
the rocks.

I had to analyze this for an English exam. It was bad news. :roll:
User avatar
Ranger of the North

Posts: 1726
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 3:57 pm

Postby hamlet » Mon Jul 05, 2004 6:05 am

There once was a lady named Blight,
Who could travel faster than light.
She departed one day,
In a relative way,
And returned the previous night.
User avatar
Posts: 10562
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2001 12:01 pm

Postby truehobbit » Mon Jul 05, 2004 6:59 am

Nice idea, Impenitent - btw, I love your sig! :D

Hmmh, I could quote some German nonsense verse, but that wouldn't be very helpful, would it? ;) :P

So, my English favourites are of course not childhood memories, but I love them with a childish enthusiasm - hope that counts! :wink: :D

Love the Jabberwocky too, and even more The Hunting of the Snark (some samples):

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true."

(actually far from nonsensical - I remember this each time someone repeats what they've said several times to affirm it :roll: )
And the refrain-like stanza:

"To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;
To pursue it with forks and hope;
To threaten its life with a railway-share;
To charm it with smiles and soap!


Ahem, I've never heard of William Carlos Williams, but I doubt very much these are nonsense poems. They look like perfectly normal modern poetry to me. Which, of course, is mostly nonsensical. :D

Not really a nonsense poet either, but I love Ogden Nash, too.
Here's "You and me and P B Shelley"

What is life? Life is stepping down a step or sitting in a chair.
And it isn't there.
Life is not having been told that the man has just waxed the floor.
Life is pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors marked PULL and not noticing notices which say PLEASE USE OTHER DOOR.

It is when you diagnose a sore throat as an unprepared geography lesson and send your child weeping to school only to be returned an hour later covered with spots that are indubitable genuine.
Life is a concert with a trombone soloist filling in for Yehudi Menuhin.
But, were it not for frustration and humiliation
I suppose the human race would get ideas above its station.

Somebody once described Shelley as a beautiful and ineffective angel beating his luminous wings against the void in vain.
Which is certainly describing with might and main.
But probably means that we are all brothers under our pelts.
And that Shelley went around pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors marked PULL just like everybody else.
User avatar

Posts: 9283
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2002 5:01 pm
Location: in love

Postby Singingfox73 » Mon Jul 05, 2004 9:37 am

"My beard grows to my toes.
I never wears no clothes.
I wraps my hair around my bare,
And down the road I goes"

I love Shel Silverstein!
User avatar
Ranger of the North
Posts: 1601
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:15 pm

Postby Istarriel » Mon Jul 05, 2004 6:30 pm

Hamlet: I love the limerick!

Here's one of my favourites. I can't remember the author, but it's from the book Something Big Has Been Here

The early worm got out of bed and mummered I feel mean
I'll put my darkest glasses on and paint myself bright green
I'll also wear my wildest wig, the one with purple bangs
And I think I add a pair of horns and artificial fangs.

The early worm poked up his head, which looked a perfect fright
And the early bird that observed that worm lost his appetite.

I'm typing by memory, so part of it could be a bit wrong, but it's mostly right.
User avatar
Rider of the Mark
Posts: 517
Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 12:33 pm

Postby KelebCarak » Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:45 pm

I had to memorize the Jabberwocky for my sixth grade homeroom class, and I still have not forgotten it. I can still recite it perfectly.
User avatar
Rider of the Mark
Posts: 515
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2002 8:31 am

Postby Mungo » Tue Jul 06, 2004 12:30 pm

I memorized The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear when I was in 1st grade and I haven't forgotten it since.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat:
They took some honey,
and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing!
Oh! let us be married;
too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the bong-tree grows;
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Funny how I can still remember this, but I can't remember other simpler things in life. B^
User avatar

Posts: 6414
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2001 4:30 pm

Postby Singingfox73 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:32 pm

I also find Edward Gorey's rhymes amusing....

A is for Amy who fell down the Stairs,
B is for Basil assulted by Bears.
C is for Clara who wasted Away,
D is for Desmond thrown out of a Sleigh.

The Gashleycrumb Tinies! :twisted:
User avatar
Ranger of the North
Posts: 1601
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:15 pm

Re: 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves....

Postby Melwa » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:31 am

Here's one my family quotes all the time. We usually mix up a few lines, but oh well. :roll:

Eletelephony by Laura Elizabeth Richards

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I've got it right.)
Howe'er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I'd better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)
User avatar
Ranger of the North

Posts: 1774
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:12 pm
Location: Right Here

Re: 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves....

Postby Witchwench » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:25 pm

My favorite high-brow poetry source: Dr Seuss ;) I always thought this little diddy would have fit in well with Bilbo

"Oh, The Places You'll Go!"


Today is your day.

You're off to Great Places!

You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You're on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets.

Look 'em over with care.

About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."

With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,

you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any

you'll want to go down.

In that case, of course,

you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there

in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen

and frequently do

to people as brainy

and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,

don't worry. Don't stew.

Just go right along.

You'll start happening too.

User avatar

Posts: 7627
Joined: Mon May 22, 2000 4:13 am
Location: Minnesnow-ta

Re: 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves....

Postby Melwa » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:45 pm

Good one Witchy!

I tend to prefer silly or kid's poetry to the more ... highbrow writers. When I saw this personality quiz "Which Famous Poem Will Speak to Your Soul?" I didn't expect to have heard of or agree with the result. I got Jabberwocky. I do like silly poems, epic sagas, and the thrill of trying to follow an author's worldbuilding and wordsmithing... The rest of my family didn't know the poems they got from the quiz, but they did all find they enjoyed them.
User avatar
Ranger of the North

Posts: 1774
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:12 pm
Location: Right Here

Re: 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves....

Postby Witchwench » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:52 pm

I took that quiz Melwa..it got Invictus by Henley..which I have always liked..so I'll take it

William Ernest Henley - 1849-1903

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
User avatar

Posts: 7627
Joined: Mon May 22, 2000 4:13 am
Location: Minnesnow-ta

Re: 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves....

Postby Frelga » Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:31 am

I got Byron.

She Walks in Beauty
By Lord Byron (George Gordon)
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

I saw a fake Snapchat profile of Byron a teacher made for his class. It said, "Anything you can do, I can do better, faster, and drunker."
Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong.
Luke Skywalker, The Last Jedi
User avatar
GNU Terry Pratchett

Posts: 9357
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 12:05 pm

Re: 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves....

Postby Melwa » Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:41 pm

Witchy - that's the same one my mom got! Frelga - ha, I like that profile quote.

So you know that feeling when you try to time your steps on the sidewalk just right so you don't step on the cracks?

Lines and Squares by A.A. Milne
Whenever I walk in a London street,
I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street,
Go back to they lairs,
And I say to them, "Bears,
Just look how I'm walking in all the squares!"

And the little bears growl to each other "He's mine,
As soon as he's silly and steps on a line."
And some of the bigger bears try to pretend
That they came round the corner to look for a friend;
And they try to pretend that nobody cares
Whether you walk on the lines or squares.
But only the sillies believe their talk;
It's ever so 'portant how you walk.
And it's ever so jolly to call out, "Bears,
Just watch me walking in all the squares!"
User avatar
Ranger of the North

Posts: 1774
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:12 pm
Location: Right Here

Re: 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves....

Postby Tookish_Traveler » Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:16 am


'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' by Robert Frost
'The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.'

:D :D :D

We need some laughs here.....
User avatar
Herald of Manwe

Posts: 26034
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 6:45 am
Location: Careening through time...and space...

Return to Talk: The Bird and the Baby

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 5 guests