Sunday, April 30, 2006

Poetry in the Pulpit

This morning Pastor Kirk Wellum, the pastor of my church (Pilgrim Baptist Fellowship), drew our attention to the lyrics of one of the Church’s most beautiful hymns, “The Love of God” by Frederick M. Lehman. He recited the third stanza to us during his sermon:

Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Tho stretched from sky to sky.

I have sung this hymn many times and I have heard many ministers recite these lines, but it never ceases to move my soul. How powerful these words are, not simply because of poetic potency, but because they words are immensely true. “O love of God how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forever more endure. The saint's and angels song!”

For the complete lyrics, music and background info, click here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Whole Language Debate

New ideas die hard: Learning to Read

hole language: A decade ago, the “whole language” approach to learning how to read made inroads into education. Some scholars suggest that “whole language” has failed, and has done more harm than good. In many schools, teachers have reverted back to phonics. New ideas, however, die hard. Frank Smith, (PhD. Harvard) recently published a book entitled Unspeakable Acts, Unnatural Practices (2003). The book addresses what he considers to be “flaws” in the way we teach reading—namely, phonics. He asserts that the phonics method is neither natural nor effective in teaching children how to read. He calls this the “Just So” method (“just sound out”) and he is intentionally drawing a correlation between phonics methodology and Kipling’s “Just So Stories.” In other words, the Leopard didn’t actually get his spots from an artistic Ethiopian… and children don’t actually learn to read by sounding things out.

To make his case, he cites the word “cat” as an example. Smith writes, “C-A-T is not necessarily k-a-t. We only think C-A-T is cat because we know how the word cat is spelled. Therefore it’s obvious. C can also be s (city), a can be uh (about) and t can be ch (picture)—so C-A-T could equally well spell such” (41).

What he is arguing for is whole language methodology; he views C-A-T as a complete package—“cat”—the same way Chinese pictograms function. The problem is that English is a phonetic language, not pictorial. Regardless of the fact that various letters can have alternating phonemes and despite exceptions to the pronunciation rules, the word “cat” is made up of three phonemes: K-A-T. English, like all languages, is an oral language; words are collections of sounds. Children learn to speak before they learn to read. Consequently, Smith does make a good point about word recognition; we know C-A-T spells “cat” because we recognise that configuration of letters represents “cat.” We also know how the word “cat” sounds when it is spoken. Long before my sons could read, they knew how to say “cat.” But what about words we have not spoken before or seen before or words that are more complicated, i.e., words that consist of a variety of phonemes? How about the words “preponderate” or “supererogation”? I bet you just sounded these words out.

It goes without saying that children will often begin to read a word and “guess” what the rest of the word is; sometimes they are right. Eventually, as they mature as readers, the children will recognize most words without sounding out each letter. They will also use context to help predict words. Context is central to being able to read anything. Smith overlooks this fact. For example, “The mouse ran away from the such…” or “The mouse ran away from the cat…” A child will sound out the word that makes most sense.

As their reading level increases, they will also encounter new words that go beyond their vocabulary. One of the many values of reading is that it expands our vocabulary. At some level, people will always need to read words—phonetically—especially when an affix (suffix or prefix) is added or in the case of inflections, which will change the meaning of a word.

Because English is a language made up of parts, it behoves us to teach our children about these parts. I also teach my Latin students using the “parts” to “whole” approach. In spite of the fact the Latin is a heavily inflected language (meaning parts matter a great deal), there is a movement afoot to push whole language approach in the teaching of Latin. The barbarians are at the gate once again.

Work Cited

Smith, Frank. Unspeakable Acts, Unnatural Practices New Hampshire: Heinemann, 2003

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

George Herbert's "The Sacrifice"

One of the top ten books that C.S. Lewis considered to be the most influential in his life was The Temple, a book of poetry by the 16th Century poet, George Herbert. I am reading this book, and I recently came across a poem entitled, “The Sacrifice.” It tells the story of the cross from Jesus’ perspective. Herbert repeats the structure and the line “Was ever grief like mine?” after each stanza. I was greatly moved. I am reminded again how powerful poetry can be, how powerful the imagination is when kindled and set ablaze by poetic language. This is especially true when the poet chooses to retell the greatest story in the history of the world. I will write more on imagination later. I have included the first stanza.

The Sacrifice

OH all ye, who passe by, whose eyes and minde

To worldly things are sharp, but to me blinde;
To me, who took eyes that I might you finde:

Was ever grief like mine?

For the rest of the poem as well as a modern version of “The Sacrifice” then click here.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Lord of the Flies and the Lord of Creation

Lord of the Flies and the Lord of Creation

Tomorrow is Yom Hashoah, which is Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is an important day to remember what godless human beings are capable of, what we are capable of, without the divine intervention of God. I am also reminded of William Golding’s novel, The Lord of the Flies. When he wrote his novel, Golding was wrestling with the disturbing realities of the Holocaust that was still coming to light in the late forties and early fifties. How could such a civilized, refined and advanced culture (Germans) be so ruthless, barbaric and evil? How could the 20th Century, the great century of promise, end up being one of the bloodiest centuries in human history?

Golding’s premise is that evil is inherent in all humanity. Golding argued that if human beings find themselves immersed in a deluge of fear and chaos, then the evil within them will surface. This is the scenario he creates on his deserted island filled with stranded British schoolboys.

Ever since William Golding published The Lord of the Flies, in 1953, his novel has been a staple text in English-speaking classrooms around the globe. Students and teachers have wrestled with Golding’s ideas about evil. The story about civilized, well-bred school children becoming ruthless savages and murderers is just as disturbing today as when it was published—perhaps more so given the recent onslaught of school-age killings all over the globe.

If you are familiar with the novel, then you will know that the boys establish a democracy to govern themselves. But it doesn’t take long before the democracy deteriorates and a self-serving, fascist-like dictatorship emerges. Fear of a “beastie” on the island combined with general disorder leads to the rise of evil. Three children die in the story: one is killed as a result of negligence. A second is murdered while the children are chaotically dancing and in a state of terror. A third is murdered deliberately and calculatingly.

As the microcosmic civilisation declines on the island, so does the macrocosm of the global civilization. Golding sets his book in a fictional Nuclear Holocaust, where fear and chaos on a global scale has resulted in a globally destructive nuclear war. As the nuclear war lays waste to the planet, the island is likewise destroyed by a fire the boys start in order to smoke out and murder a boy named Ralph. The boy, Ralph, who at the outset of the novel was the democratically elected leader, becomes the hunted at the end of the novel.

All is lost, so it seems, until a British Naval officer appears and rescues Ralph and the boys. The officer’s presence intervenes and, with his Battle Cruiser and weapons, restores order and a sense of safety. The irony is that the boys are rescued from a wasted and destroyed paradisiacal island, only to be delivered to a wasted and destroyed planet. Golding leaves his readers with a resonating question: who will intervene for humanity? Who will save us from our own evil?

Golding has no answer to give. Looking to Freud, Golding tries to explain the “good” in humanity as the result of the “superego”—a sense of shame and guilt imposed on us by our parents and authority figures. The superego suppresses our animalistic and evil desires, which he dubs the “id.”

If Golding only understood that man is created in the image of God and we bear His communicable attributes of goodness and kindness and mercy and compassion... If only Golding understood that the Lord of all Creation is sovereign over the affairs of men, restraining us from the total depravity, of which we are capable... If only Golding understood that there is indeed a Saviour who not only forgives us of our evil deeds, but also empowers us to live righteously. Golding asks, “Who will save us?” The answer is Jesus.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Shakespeare the Pirate and Pirating Shakespeare...

Shakespeare the Pirate and Pirating Shakespeare…

Out of all of the Bard’s plays, only one is “original.” The original play is A Midsummer's Night Dream. All the other plays—tragedies, comedies and histories—are based on various “sources”. In other words, Shakespeare copied other people’s work. He was a pirate of sorts. Today, we copyright intellectual property. That is why Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown is in court for plagiarizing Holy Blood, Holy Grail. You cannot copy someone else’s idea and publish a best seller. Yann Martel, author of the best seller Life of Pi, a novel about a tiger in a boat with a boy, was also accused of plagiarizing Brazilian author Moacyr Scliar’s novel—which is also about a tiger in a boat with a boy.

Whatever you think of Dan Brown’s writing and whether he plagiarized or not, Shakespeare clearly did. But so did everyone else writing in his day. Authors understood that creativity does not occur in a vacuum. They recognized that their craft depends on the craft of others who have gone before them. Only God creates Ex Nihilo. All artists have, in the end, copy God's creativity. Consequently, all writers have sources. Even C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was inspired by Roger Lancelyn Green's never published, "The Wood that Time Forgot", about children entering an enchanted wood and encountering a fallen angel. He was also inspired by the works of George Macdonald and J.R.R. Tolkien. There are many similarities and common threads in Lewis's Narnia books that can be clearly linked to Lewis's sources.

Building off of other's ideas is not a sign of an author's lack of ability as a writer. In fact, it confirms his ability. We celebrate Shakespeare’s version of Romeo and Juliet, not Matteo Bandello’s novella Giulietta e Romeo (1554), or William Painter’s The Palace of Pleasure(1580) or the poem by Arthur Brooke called "The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Iuliet", written in 1562. Shakespeare took these stories and he added breadth and depth of human experience. He changed events, developed characters and enriched the stories with his observations of the human condition. Shakespeare made his sources into better stories that have endured.

Additional confirmation of Shakespeare’s success is the amount of works that have "plagiarized" Shakespeare. Shakespeare's plays have inspired countless creative endeavors—music, art, plays, novels, poems, films, TV shows, etc. Even in the 21st Century, Shakespeare permeates our popular culture. In addition, each year hundreds of Shakespeare plays are still being performed all over the world. What a playwright!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Technology and Education

About a month or two ago, I came across an article by Lowell Monke on Computers and Education. His observation about computers limiting personal interaction is a profound consideration. He writes, “Students could best learn the lessons implicit in Charlotte’s Web—the need to negotiate relationships, the importance of all members of a community, even rats…” The business world continually emphasizes this point; employees need “soft skills” more than any other skill to succeed in the workplace. That is, communication and interpersonal skills.

However, Monke goes beyond mere success in the workplace. He goes on to relate that computers can hamper children’s capability to appreciate “what it means to be alive, what it means to belong in the world as a biological, social being.” These are powerful accusations, and they must be duly considered. Computers can expose students to a breadth of knowledge, but such breadth makes students less enthused by real life learning. Going to a local museum or a local historical site can be very dull when compared to a virtual tour of the Coliseum. At a museum, students need to engage their minds, read signs and imagine how things once were in bygone days. Students also need to understand these things in context—social, geographic, cultural, etc.. Local history, although less glamorous, allows students to see the far-reaching ramifications of historical human interaction in their own community. Technology cannot offer students this context, nor can it challenge students to patiently engage their minds and make connections. If a web site is boring or not uploading fast enough, students can click away. This promotes lazy and impatient “learning”—with very little depth or contextual meaning.

At my school, each year we spend thousands and thousands of dollars on updating computer labs, lap tops, software, on-line service subscriptions, etc. I think we need to think more carefully about technology in the classroom and in education for that matter. Computers do not necessarily “equal” better. Exposing students to more information does not mean the students are thinking critically, researching effectively, synthesizing or even understanding what they are exposed to.

To paraphrase McLuhan, technology has indeed become a “message” unto itself. Case in point is student use of Power Point. Somehow students believe that they have put together a fabulous presentation if they slap their notes up on the screen. Content becomes secondary.

Not all that glitters is gold. Students need to realize that just because something looks “good”—flashy Power Point presentation, colourful image-laden website, neat-looking Word Processed essay—doesn’t mean that it IS good. As Monke points out in his article, students take for granted all the work and expertise that went into the creation of computer software. All the spell checking, grammar checks, built in thesaurus… Students need to learn how to work for themselves. There are too many “auto-pilot” modes when it comes to technology. Too much dependence on technology will result in schools preparing the road for the child, instead of preparing the child for the road.

Link to the Lowell Monke article originally published in the Toronto Star (of all places…)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Why Study Shakespeare?

Why Shakespeare?

Teacher: Why do we study Shakespeare?

Student: We study Shakespeare because he is a famous writer.

Teacher: OK, but how did he get famous?

Student: He was a white guy who wrote famous stuff. In the olden days, we only celebrated dead white guys.

Teacher: There are plenty of dead white males who wrote pretty decent stuff… Could it be that Shakespeare is famous because his works exceeded the works of others? Could it be that Shakespeare captured something unique in his writing? Could it be that Shakespeare’s works communicate something of great importance, which is still relevant for today?

Student: Can I go to the bathroom?

The question—why study Shakespeare—is an important one that teachers need to ask each time they teach Shakespeare. I always begin my study of a play with this question. With my students, I argue for two main reasons. At the heart of it, I believe Shakespeare is a unique writer who captures the human experience in—ironically—the most accessible way like no other English writer. Shakespeare’s characters are diverse, three-dimensional, and authentic; they reveal a broad and deep picture of humanity. Dickens creates caricatures of humanity, Austen creates miniature portraits of humanity but Shakespeare creates an almost God’s-eye-view of humanity. He puts the world on display in all its beauty and ugliness.

I call Shakespeare “accessible” because it is a play that was meant to appeal to a diverse audience. Shakespeare works as a “show and tell” of the human experience.

The second reason I argue for Shakespeare is for cultural literacy, to borrow E.D. Hirch’s phrase. Shakespeare’s works permeate our culture so exhaustively that we are doing our students—I suggest—a disservice by not giving them the context of our current culture. From words and phrases, idioms and clichés, to films, music and art, Shakespeare is present.

The problem in our current culture is that we celebrate “fame” as an achievement. There are many famous actors and musicians who are neither unique nor do they excel in their craft. Then, these famous people get behind a “cause” that they know very little about and they have not demonstrated any merit other then being famous. Case in point is the great Canadian seal hunt controversy. Among the people who oppose the controversy are famous actors and musicians. Among those who support the seal hunt are ecologists, academics and some lesser known celebs from intelligencia acclaim. No debate should be determined by a “who’s who” list. That’s just stupid propaganda. If I was accused of a crime I did not commit and I was on trial, facing the death penalty, then I would want an expert in the field of law to represent me. I would not want an actor, even if he or she played a lawyer on TV or the silver screen. It is no wonder students are cynical when it comes to “famous” writers. We must remind them that in the “olden days” people often achieved fame because they actually merited it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Terence, Socrates and Herbert On Opinions

Quot homines tot sententiae
Terence, Roman comic dramatist (185 BC - 159 BC)

This Latin phrase idiomatically translates as, “There are as many men as there are opinions.”

So much of modern education is encouraging our students to have “opinions” instead of well-informed positions. It takes time and effort to develop an argument defending a position. For an opinion, on the contrary, it only takes a heart-beat and the ability to form words. Socrates states, “Wind puffs up empty bladders; opinions, fools.”

I am reading English poet George Herberts’s (1593-1633) classic work, The Temple. I recently came across this little poem, which seemed to me to be very timely:

In conversation boldnesse now bears sway.
But know, that nothing can so foolish be,
As empty boldnesse: therefore first assay
To stuffe thy minde with solid braverie;
Then march on gallant: get substantiall worth.
Boldnesse guilds finely, and will set it forth.

Shakespeare in the 21st Century?

Shakespeare in the 21st Century?

Every educator must ask themselves this question: How am I meeting the practical needs of my students in the 21st century, particularly students who are disadvantaged intellectually, socially, economically, etc.?

There is a movement afoot in North American Education that answers this question with resume writing skills and language training; these are important skills, no doubt.

However, resumes do not inspire students. Literature does. Even… nay, especially Shakespeare. The value of Shakespeare is that it transcends time and place and meets us on the level plain of our humanity—we have all loved (like Romeo), felt pain and pondered our mortality (like Hamlet), succumbed to temptation (like Macbeth), been blinded by jealousy (like Othello).

Educators ought to give all their students the opportunity to experience the wonder and beauty of literature. I have worked with essential level students and they often perceive themselves as “second class citizens” intellectually. By demystifying the supposed “elitist” literature like Shakespeare, students are empowered. They CAN read Shakespeare, they CAN understand Shakespeare, they CAN recite Shakespeare.

The beauty of English is that we teach with stories. The narrative should drive the class. The students’ desire to know what happens next in the story motivates them to learn and keep learning.

A student will ask, “What does Shakespeare have to do with me?” I believe it gives us hope of something better. It gives us an understanding of who we are as human beings; it gives us a glimpse of a world that is bigger than the world we think we know.

This sounds pretty idealistic, but I believe it is true. I taught Essential Level English students at a vocational school and now I teach Academic students at a private school. I find that students from both ends of the academic spectrum love to be inspired and empowered. I believe that teaching good literature is at the heart of it. For the Essential level students I also taught them how to write resumes, food service menus, how to use a phone book. The Academic students learn how to write essays and critical arguments. But more importantly, they learn why resumes and essays matter—they matter because life matters. This central purpose of English teaching does not change. What I mean by “life matters” is not simply the mundane aspects of life. I mean the spiritual, mind-enriching and soul-searching aspects of life. I believe literature helps my students see beauty in their lives. If they can see this beauty, then they will also begin to see the God of beauty Himself.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Classics & the "Weak" Student

Classics & the "Weak" Student

Should we be teaching Shakespeare and other “classics” to Academically weak students? Literature that is well chosen should communicate the fundamentally human experience that exceeds a particular time period and goes beyond a specific culture—including the academic culture. If this is true of Shakespeare, then we must teach Shakespeare to high achievers as well as academically weak students. The approach may differ, but the content is the same—the human experience.

What makes a “classic” a “classic”? The answer, I believe, is three-fold. A classic is a work that was written in a particular time and place by a particular person but has risen beyond its cultural context to apply to humans in any time and place. A classic also needs to have influence on subsequent literature and cultures. Lastly, a classic is a work that reflects the beauty and excellence of human creative ability; in other words, it is well written. I think students need to be exposed to works other than “classics”, but I believe that the cornerstone of an English program needs to be classic literature.

Too many students are disinterested in literature because much of what they have encountered has been blasé or mediocre. As a teacher of Creative Writing, I believe it is essential that students distinguish “good” literature so they are able to write their own. Great Canadian writers Timothy Findley, Margaret Laurence, Robertson Davies, Carol Shields et al were all prolific readers and they all had countless “classics” under their belt. Without an excellent goal to aim for (or surpass) how can we expect our students to excel beyond mediocrity?

Why teach kids about literature?

Why teach kids about Literature?

The central purpose of English teaching goes beyond mere literacy skills. It is the role of education as a whole to facilitate the growth of student literacy. What makes English unique is that it is a subject where the student can grow as a human being. Literature is the gateway to the human experience, by which students are able to explore who they are in context with people who have lived and are living on this planet called Earth.

Teenagers are typically heliocentric. For our students to travel further along the road to maturity means they must become “other-orientated”. Through literature, students are able to live—sometimes intimately—the lives of another person or persons, whether it is the lives of the characters or the authors themselves. Students experience passions, hatreds, evils, acts of courage and heroism; they encounter worldviews and philosophies broader and deeper than their own, all of which allow them to transcend the suburban jungle of X-boxes and MSN. Literature helps to put the students in chronological context as well. Literature connects students to the past, the history, philosophy, worldviews, etc., that laid the ground work for the world we currently live in.

By gaining a better understanding of the human experience, students will become better communicators. Ultimately, people talk to people. The best writers or speakers are those who can empathize with their readers/listeners. I would argue that communication is a fundamental aspect to the human experience. As an English teacher in a secular school setting, I have the privilege of encouraging my students to become better communicators by teaching them—through literature—what it means to be human. Everything else I do—grammar, essay writing, critical thinking, vocabulary, literary devices, etc.—are secondary to this the central purpose of English.

The implementing of this central purpose requires a “good” selection of literature, which is not as nebulous to discern as the average post-modern critic would suggest. In my classroom, we spend considerable time discussing and working through texts, paying close attention to characters’ thoughts, actions and motivations and their mistakes, acts of courage, judgements etc.. We also look at authors of texts as well as characters in the texts themselves. For me, the historical and cultural context of a work is almost as important as the work itself. In other words, I am not a New Criticism subscriber. I believe my students need the historical context to benefit most from the text. I want my students to come to the text listening for a “voice” from the text. I want my students, before they come to the text, to leave behind what they “know” and seek instead to learn something they don’t know. Once they have heard the story of other human beings, heard the voice of characters, writers, philosophers, then they can compare their own worldviews. I ask my students to listen first, talk second, to take in before they opine. I believe this will make them mature humans, good citizens and effective communicators.

Jesus said, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." (Luke 10:27). In good literature, as in all good art, we see the evidence of God’s communicable attribute: creativity. We also see the beauty of God. By reading, understanding and enjoying good literature, we can come closer to “loving the Lord” with “all your mind”. As for “loving your neighbour”… If reading literature is like walking in another man’s shoes, then literature can help us how to love another human.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

On teaching English Literature...

On teaching English Literature...

One of the struggles all High School English teachers seem to face is choosing texts, poems and short stories that will “interest” the students. When justifying a text on the course syllabus, I have said (as well as many other English teachers), “The students really enjoyed this play, novel, etc.” We certainly want our students to “enjoy” what we are studying. But here’s some food for thought… what if we had a mandate to teach students how to enjoy… or dare I say, what to enjoy? I am reading a book by C.S. Lewis on English education and he raises this point. Besides being a writer of fantasy and science fiction, Lewis was also an Oxford Don, Cambridge Professor and renowned literary critic; on the topic of English education, Lewis presents an interesting argument in his book, “The Abolition of Man”. He cites Classical, Christian and Eastern tradition to make his case. For example, he quotes Aristotle who states that “the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought.” Plato writes in his Republic that a well-trained youth will have a “just distaste” for what is ugly and have a “delighted praise” for what is beautiful (29). Lewis goes on to cite other writings from Hindu and Oriental origin as well as Christianity. Lewis was obviously reacting to the logical consequence of the emerging modernism of his day: post-modern subjectivity. He calls this “the doctrine of the objective value,” which he explains as “the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false” (31). What Lewis is proposing is that educators need to show students how to appreciate good, beautiful literature and how to loathe ugly and poorly done literature. The post-modern asks, “Who decides the criteria to determine what is beautiful and what is ugly?” Lewis would say no one “decides” it is discovered because it can be discovered, learned and passed on. Lewis cites an anecdote about Coleridge visiting a waterfall with two travellers. One traveller calls the waterfall “sublime” and the other calls it “pretty”. Coleridge endorses the former and rejected the latter. Most of us who have been inculcated with post-modern thinking cringe at this notion.

We have difficulty accepting the legitimacy of “sentiments”—we will not argue with Coleridge if he accepted the one traveller calling the waterfall a cataract but rejecting the other calling it a tsunami. Reason tells up it is not a tsunami. We have trouble with the notion that sentiments of beauty and the sublime can be as definitively recognized. Lewis believes we need to train our students to recognize beauty. Educators are unwilling to “teach” sentiment. In fact, we sometimes relegate sentiment to a role of least significance. Lewis writes, “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts” (27). Students need to learn what merits praise and what deserves disdain.

As Christians, we recognise that God is the ultimate standard of beauty. He is the one worthy of ultimate praise. By teaching our students to learn how to give praise to that which is worthy, we are helping our students appreciate Him who is ultimately worthy.

“All great art is the expression of man’s delight in God’s work, not his own.” John Ruskin

Work Cited: Lewis, C.S.. The Abolition of Man. Simon & Schuster: New York, 1996.

Galumphing is a VERB

colloquial: To stride along triumphantly
Etymology: 19c: coined by Lewis Carroll

"With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God." Acts 3:8

...some might even say "galumphing and praising God."

Here's the crazy poem that inspired it all... or at least, inspired me to call my blog "Galumphing".

"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.