(after William Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll)
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Felt dread of something after death—
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Long life—To die, to sleep—No more—
And by a sleep to say we end
The Jubjub bird, the borogoves.
In undiscovered country, we
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were our mortal coils,
Our barest bodkins soon outgrabe.
Ophelia, all our sins recall,
As when in uffish thought you stood,
And, in a sea of trouble, warned:
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
Your conscience cowarded us all.
You paused: “To be, or not to be—
And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?”
That is the question burbled now
Still whiffling through the tulgey wood.
When consummated heartache came,
Perchance the manxome foe we sought—
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame—
Had fardeled the pale cast of thought.
No resting by the Tumtum tree!
Delay will lose the name of act!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
Our slings and arrows snicker-snack!
We left it dead, and with its head
And patient merit, back we went.
“Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
And you yourself your quietus make.
The mome raths bear the whips and scorns
Of grunt and sweat, of vorpal sword.
‘Tis nobler, far, than shuffling off
The frumious fortune Bandersnatch!”
When thus Ophelia chortled some
Such joy to us, what dreams may come.
Tucker Lieberman’s poems have appeared in Snakeskin, Ariga, and Flutter, and in his book Wild Mushrooms. He studied philosophy and journalism and works in technology and finance. When he doesn’t believe in something, he gives presentations to the Disproof Atheism Society in Boston. He believes that pumpkin belongs in pie and not in coffee.