Lucy Vickery

Competition | 24 September 2011


In Competition No. 2714 you were invited to supply a poem that begins ‘’Twas brillig…’ and continue, in the spirit of Lewis Carroll, using your own neologisms.

‘Jabberwocky’ has, of course, spawned countless parodies and been translated into many tongues. Frank L. Warrin’s frabjous French version, ‘Le Jaseroque’, appeared in the New Yorker in 1931. Here are the first couple of stanzas:

Il brilgue: les tôves lubricilleux
Se gyrent en vrillant dans le guave.
Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux
Et le mômerade horsgrave.

Garde-toi du Jaseroque, mon fils!
La gueule qui mord; la griffe qui prend!
Garde-toi de l’oiseau Jube, évite
Le frumieux Band-à-prend!

The germ there of a future assignment, perhaps, but back to the comp du jour where the challenge was to maintain some level of comprehensibility amid the whimsy and verbal pyrotechnics. It was an impressive entry, by and large. Honourable mentions go to Walter Ancarrow, Jonathan Taylor and Stephen Wrigley. The winners, printed below, get £30 each. Ray Kelley grabs the bonus fiver.

’Twas brillig, and the benneteaux
Did fish and tsonga in the beck;
All murray were the delpotros,
Primed to outstepanek.

Beware the soderling, annoyed!
The bryans that pair, the dread monfils!
Evade the llodra, and avoid
The djokovic malisse!

He took his rafnadal in hand;
Longtime the federer he fought;
Then roddicked he by the stakhovsky,
All seppi off the court.

And as in haas dolgopolov
He blaked, a berdych rhyme
Came troicking through the tursunov…
But stop — it’s closing time!

Ray Kelley

Twas brillig, and the harry potts
Did dore and dumble in the print,
All weasley were the hermy swots,
And the rowlings made mint.
She took her dobbied quill in hand,
And wrote an aurifactious tome,
Dog-latinned in the muggly land,
With many a measly gnome.
Six more stark volumes then appeared
Out of her durslied thought.
Her magic words were wandly wierd,
But volded every mort.
Then filmy through the holly wood
The fructuous franchise smashed!
Calloo, callay, O rich Jay-Kay,
She snaped as she in-cashed.

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