Any readers who enjoy the light-hearted poetry of the Reverend(?) Charles Dickens, aka Lewis Carroll, may find the meter (rhyming pattern) of the following poem somewhat reminiscent, as well as hints of the theme. To a large extent now, it's lost in history that most of the poems included in the Alice in Wonderland books were actually written as parodies of other, more serious poets' work. But the root, or origin, of one of the naughty old bugger's most popular poems has been debated – more or less hotly, depending of course upon whether the debaters actually cared whether anyone else agreed with them, or merely enjoyed a good argument. Anyway, the two most popular schools of thought are: 1) that it was taken from a fairly obscure poem written in German, or 2) that it was pretty much original – well, at least about as much as any item of this genre ever is.
Whatever... in any case, I've always liked 'Jabberwocky' (does sound kinda Germanic, doesn't it?). And interestingly enough, several of the nonsense (or pidgin German?) words in 'Jabberwocky' have by now made it into occasional, if not common English usage. Anyway, a long time ago – maybe 15 years? – I knocked off a parody about a hill in Point Mugu State Park, pretty much matching the original(?) stanza for stanza, syllable for syllable. With changes in PCs, operating systems and apps, that poem got lost somehow, somewhere along the way along with a few others I still miss. Over the last few years, I've tried a few times to recapture it, but without an acceptable measure of success. Finally, I decided to write this one instead. Of course, as seems to be the case with most poetry I rewrite, it got a good(?) bit longer. This time I've kept the basic 4-4-4-3 iamb pattern of Chuck's poem, but I've doubled up his lines, so that each quatrain becomes a couplet, while adding 'subrhymes' on the first half of each new line. The original had an A-B-C-B rhyming scheme, while mine now has a sort of aaB-ccB pattern. However, if you never even noticed that most lines of 'Tiger, tiger, burning bright' have exactly the same meter as 'Mary had a little lamb', you probably don't much care about any of this. Also, if you're somehow offended or appalled that I might have dared to equate dolphins with slithy toves, or coreopsis with mimsy borogoves, all I can say is: Get frabjous!
Is Cardiac Hill a real place? Yes, near the intersection of Wood and Sycamore Canyons. Is my depiction of it accurate? Exactly how autobiographical is this piece? Gosh... I'm sure I've already told you way more than you ever wanted to know.
Huge breakers crashed as sunlight flashed on dolphins splashing down below.|
He'd made good time on that first climb, where strange gold flowers grow.
The fire road curved; the biker swerved, and thought about what lay ahead.
He chose his line, as down his spine raced apprehensive dread.
With will of stone, he pedaled on; he climbed until he reached his goal –
"Be wary, sir;" it seemed to purr, "my claws and teeth are very sharp.
But once he'd made it; he'd displayed his skill by only dabbing twice.
Low limbs might snatch; deep ruts might catch him as he fought to keep control.
Left – right – left – right... his knobbies' bite on any turn might slip or fail.
It wasn't neat, but still his feet stayed clipped in, him still on his wheels.
A narrow ridge was like a bridge across deep, angled crumbling ruts.
A hop... a slide... the other side (the left) was where the best line lay.
No rest, no lull, no time to mull, no time to scan ahead to pick
The hill's last trick – off-camber, slick... He'd gone down hard and hurting there,
The grade decreased as he released his death grip on his handlebar.
Last updated Oct 30 2006