One of the things we love about Lewis Carroll is his knack for poetic parody. Agnes surprised me today with this Carroll-esque spoof of one of her favorite works by John Keats. Included first is the original Keats poem to highlight the humor in Agnes' tongue-in-cheek version.
(an excerpt from "I stood tip-toe upon a little hill" by John Keats)
Where swarms of minnows show their little heads,
Staying their wavy bodies ’gainst the streams,
To taste the luxury of sunny beams
Temper’d with coolness. How they ever wrestle
With their own sweet delight, and ever nestle
Their silver bellies on the pebbly sand.
If you but scantily hold out the hand,
That very instant not one will remain;
But turn your eye, and they are there again.
The ripples seem right glad to reach those cresses,
And cool themselves among the em’rald tresses;
The while they cool themselves, they freshness give,
And moisture, that the bowery green may live . . . .
(by Agnes, age 12)
Where swarms of workbooks rear their ugly heads,
Shoving their papery thickness 'gainst our brains,
To feel the drudgery of printed plains
Temper'd with graphite. How they ever wrestle
With all our sanity, and ever nestle
Their bulk upon our desks (they weigh a ton).
If you but scantily think, "Oh, I'm done!"
You'll notice that more questions will remain;
Yet turn the page, and there they are again.
The workbooks seem right glad to bore and burden,
All for the sake--they say--to foster learnin';
The while they make us toil, they headaches give,
And suffering, that no free time may live . . . .
Our favorite Lewis Carroll parodies include How Doth the Little Crocodile, the madcap companion to How Doth the Little Busy Bee by Isaac Watts; Father William, a reinvention of Robert Southey's straitlaced The Old Man's Comforts and how he gained them; and Hiawatha's Photography, the side-splitting sequel to Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha. (In spite of the order of these links, it is actually far more amusing to visit the original works before the Lewis Carroll renditions.)