Chutzpah, or: Vorpal

A sequel to ‘Jabberwocky’ by Lewis Carroll

Past twestif, all the nochky kreets
      Did stwirk and smiggle in the glood:
All thungry were the zilligeets,
      And the narvips twitwoo’d.

“Acquire that Wocky’s head, I must-
      Those jaws that bit- from he who fought!
Acquire its head, upending trust,
      As none were there to see it caught!” 

With gobsack slung upon his back,
      And sparing innish lad no thought
Who “Callay!” murmured in his dreams,
       Grim trophy found that he had sought.

And, as thrilated there he stood,
      The groary sire, of same surname,
Came ‘pon him in dishmardened room,
      Exhuffling as he came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
Fool thief fell dead, and then his head
      Fell ‘pon his fuffed gobsack.

“My boy was he who slew the ‘wock!
      He’s earned the Queen of Heart’s reward!
Arrogous crook! Gitfoo! Gitfook!”
      Leaned, spent, upon the bloory sword.

Past twestif, all the nochky kreets
      Did stwirk and smiggle in the glood:
All thungry were the zilligeets,
      And the narvips twitwoo’d.

d’Verse

For this month’s d’Verse ‘open link’, I am sharing a nonsense poem that I wrote some six months ago.

I couldn’t tell you what what possessed me to write this, exactly, but I had been playing with words and meanings in poetry, trying to find my voice… and that day, I found myself reciting the original ‘Jabberwocky’ poem to myself, wondering if I too couldn’t tell a story with my very own nonsense words.

It was harder than I’d expected to “find” words that both sounded good and carried their intended meanings well enough.

Anyway, the poem above was my result.


The original ‘Jabberwocky’

by 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.

80 thoughts on “Chutzpah, or: Vorpal”

  1. You are so fucking creative man, it is damned beautiful, if you will forgive my anglo saxon cursing. Reminds me of a poem I wrote like yours, sardonic satire,

    Bella

    She walks in dogshit like the blight
    From my brother’s filthy yard. I’ve
    One thing fair to say of her: bright
    Gleam her eyes beneath that stale hive
    Of matted, tangled fur, a sight
    Which heaven can scarce but leave alive.

    One snarl the more, one tooth or less
    Hath half impaled the separate beast
    Who dared to touch her kibbled mess
    Or stole her master’s pizza feast;
    While thoughts serenely beg caress
    How pure her kennel cage at least.

    And on that snout, and o’er that brow
    So fierce, so wild, yet eloquent,
    The smile that wins, the wags that grow
    To tell of days in lock down spent.
    A dog that begs from far below,
    A bite whose love is innocent!

    With a pat on the head for Lord Byron.

    1. Danial, you are certainly no less creative than I am!

      That poem is amazing – I LOVED it! Thank you for sharing. Also ~ I forgive your cursing, as well as my own… I even have a tag I use for posts in which I use profanity 😁

      Yours,
      David

  2. Well done, you! There were some lines I really loved in there. “Exhuffling as he came” and “Fell ‘pon his fuffed gobsack”. You picked a little favourite of mine to write a sequel to and bravely took up the challenge to make up words that sound like they have meaning. Very fun and very clever! 🙂 Cheers, Worms 😉

  3. I smiled as I read this one! Your playful use of sniglets is lovely! Who knows, someday gobsack or thrilated will make it into the dictionary!

  4. You had me at Jabberwocky! 😄
    “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves”

    I had the pleasure of standing next to an actor recite this, a few months ago, in a walk-thru Covid-safe theater setting. 👏🏻 Your sequel is splendid!

  5. This is SO amazing, David! I love this piece and I knew I heard the phrase gyre and gimble in the wabe from somewhere. 😀

  6. My ma se…kind…and he found his voice
    Chutzpah!!!
    Lewis must be smiling and giggling at the same time….
    Exhuffling…classic …puff and pass

  7. I remember the first time I had read this poem, I was so confused and startled by all the new words. It was hilarious to me. But slowly it started making a little more sense and I loved your word play. Such creativity! 🤩

    1. Shruba,

      Yes, it makes infinitely more sense if you’ve read Alice in Wonderland and/or are familiar with the original poem 😀

      Otherwise it really does just seem like I’m on drugs!


      David

      1. Exactly haha. I had read Alice as a child and back then there were large chunks of it that i didn’t understand but in my hurry to know the story I just rushed forward ignoring what didn’t seem to make sense to me. Just like I used to do with big words, skim it and leave it. Bad habit lol. But when I reread it again as a high school student, it was a bizarre experience. 💜

  8. Whoa, that was an incredible play with words!! I remember reading the original poem and being completely in awe of the writing. This would fit right in that world; it’s novel and creative!

        1. My brother-in-law has asked me more than once why I apologize all the time. I think it’s because I grew up in the USA (he grew up in Russia) 🤷‍♂️

  9. An ambitious project to write a sequel to the Jabberwocky. Your poem is a fun continuation of Lewis Carroll’s. Those nonsense words not only sound neat, they are also neat descriptors. Well crafted 🙂

  10. So much fun, David! I used to be able to recite Jabberwocky. The first stanza sounded like Yiddish to me (nochky kreets–some kind of food 😀), and I’m imagining Billy Crystal reciting this.

  11. This is absolutely FANTASTIC, David!💝 I love; “Past twestif, all the nochky kreets/Did stwirk and smiggle in the glood.” You should be very proud of yourself and this poem 😀

  12. I share your affinity for nonsense words. Jabberwocky is a poem I re-read time and again, and yours is equally clever. I admire your wordsmithing a great deal, my friend!!

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