A Strange Wild Song

He thought he saw an Elephant
That practised on a fife:
He looked again, and found it was
A letter from his wife.
'At length I realize,' he said,
'The bitterness of life! '

He thought he saw a Buffalo
Upon the chimney-piece:
He looked again, and found it was
His Sister's Husband's Niece.
'Unless you leave this house,' he said,
'I'll send for the police! '

he thought he saw a Rattlesnake
That questioned him in Greek:
He looked again, and found it was
The Middle of Next Week.
'The one thing I regret,' he said,
'Is that it cannot speak! '

He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk
Descending from the bus:
He looked again, and found it was
A Hippopotamus.
'If this should stay to dine,' he said,
'There won't be much for us! '

He thought he saw a Kangaroo
That worked a Coffee-mill:
He looked again, and found it was
A Vegetable-Pill.
'Were I to swallow this,' he said,
'I should be very ill! '

He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
That stood beside his bed:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bear without a Head.
'Poor thing,' he said, 'poor silly thing!
It's waiting to be fed! '

He thought he saw an Albatross
That fluttered round the lamp:
He looked again, and found it was
A Penny-Postag e Stamp.
'You'd best be getting home,' he said:
'The nights are very damp! '

He thought he saw a Garden-Door
That opened with a key:
He looked again, and found it was
A Double Rule of Three:
'And all its mystery,' he said,
'Is clear as day to me! '

He thought he saw a Argument
That proved he was the Pope:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bar of Mottled Soap.
'A fact so dread,' he faintly said,
'Extinguishe s all hope! '

by Lewis Carroll

Comments (28)

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He thought he spied anointed pasta upon the table placed, but realized it was, alas, a double-jointed Rasta. A joint alight in both his hands Could fair produce a work like this We all pretend to understand.
I like this funny poem..... Thanks for sharing...
The elephant uses the trunk to feel almost everything around because it can be used for the finest touch, especially in smelling when a male wants to know if a female is sexually receptive. These trunks are also used to threaten or to throw the objects and are vital for the animals. In the poem, the trunk is compared with the fife and also with a love letter. In the medieval period, the Europeans used the fife for the folk music accompanying the dance.This instrument has been adopted by the slaves during the America's Colonial period. These musical traditions derived from some African music that has been transformed into the blues, for which the slaves used fifes and drums. Also, the fifes and the drums have been played during the 17th and 18th centuries for the protocols of the infantry regiments. The old love letters have been rolled with elegant dispensers being perfect, especially for the Valentine days. I think that the first stanza describes exactly the wife and her effort to sweeten the ''bitterness of life''. Then, he explains so poetically the spiritual atmosphere, which has been existent in their home. Having a bone shield which is named the boss, the African buffalo has never been domesticated. Because they are aggressive, their fight is violent. The verse ''Upon the chimney-piece'' suggests the end of a fight with another member of the family. The rattlesnake is venomous and has a rattle, which is positioned at the end of the tail to make a loud sound for deterring the predators. This snake is also named Sistrurus, which is a Latin name deriving from the Greek word meaning a tail rattler. The metaphorical meaning of this snake is'' weak and mentally immature'' and it is suggested in the line, 'Is that it cannot speak! '. Probably this stanza refers to his sister because this snake is called Sistrurus. ''The hippopotamus is a highly aggressive and unpredictable animal and is ranked among the most dangerous animals in Africa.''(Wikipedia) . In the ancient Greek, hippopotamus means horse of the river. The features of the characters belonging to this story poem are associated with representative animals. The Banker's Clerk is a hippopotamus that takes almost everything, 'There won't be much for us! ' Kangaroo means large foot and, in the language of the natives, it means I don't understand you. This Kangaroo fighting for drinking spots and boxing becomes a machine for grinding coffee beans, although I think that the beans, here, mean ''money''. Anyway, he must undergo a very unpleasant experience because he says '''Were I to swallow this'. The 'Bear without a Head' waits 'to be fed'.The problem is that he has no head.He is another predator, of course, and etymologically his name means honey-eater. The upper mandible of the Albatross bird terminates in a large hook and he has bills. He spends 'many years practicing the elaborate breeding rituals and dances'. They return to their natal colony to breed. 'You'd best be getting home'. Here, the dance is used to suggest that they are marionettes.Then, the poet describes the garden, in which the animals live. The word 'soap' is used to suggest the necessity to purify everything in this garden. ''Spineless, short-lived and easily overlooked, poetry pamphlets are thriving against the odds, ” wrote Paul Batchelor in The Guardian. I enjoyed reading this wonderful pamphlet poem. Voted 10.
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