Featured Poem: The Mad Gardener’s Song by Lewis Carroll

The period between Christmas and New Year is very peculiar indeed. For six days or so, everything seems to have been turned on its head – you aren’t quite sure what day it is, the lazy holiday mood is still lingering and normal service is waiting to be resumed. It’s almost as if the whole of time has been temporarily suspended, somehow (Of course, if you’re already back at work, this most likely does not apply – as a naïve graduate of just on six months, I have yet to experience anything other than a Christmas filled with lie-ins and long hours spent with bottomless boxes of chocolates in my lap).

I have to say I rather enjoy these slightly weird but ever so satisfying days, and to revel in their topsy-turviness even more so here’s an especially nonsensical poem from the master of marvellous nonsense, Lewis Carroll. It doesn’t serve much purpose but to rattle a head already made slightly slushy by too much turkey and Christmas pud, but it is a bit of a fun. Besides, if you can’t have some silliness at this time of year, then really – when can you?

The Mad Gardener’s 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 realise,’ 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-Postage 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,
‘Extinguishes all hope!’

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

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