Jabberwocky: A Poem of Descent

 

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When I was in high school, for an art class I chose the theme of the Jabberwock for an assignment using pointillism.  I composed a black-and-white pointillist image of a dragonlike creature matching Lewis Carroll’s description in the famous Jabberwocky poem.

As it took me several weeks to accomplish the image, I had time to reflect on the meaning of this poem. To me it is about the Outcast or  Outsider or Otherness itself: the Jabberwock “monster,” who had the misfortune of being regarded as a shadowy fiend by ignorant humans who had moved in to its own “tulgey wood.” Then also from the human perspective, there is a futility represented here: the futility of battling Jabberwocks is like that of Don Quixote tilting at windmills; there will always be yet another monstrous creature around the bend, if that is what you set out to encounter in your Descent! And yet, how might your Jabberwock be enlisted as a Friend, an Ally? Then may you tame, rather than slay, your “dragons”!

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Jabberwocky

BY LEWIS CARROLL (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171647)

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

      And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;

      Long time the manxome foe he sought—

So rested he by the Tumtum tree

      And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,

      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

      And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through

      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

      He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

      He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

      And the mome raths outgrabe.

Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

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images from pixabay.com

Enduring Solidarity

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“It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens

(Alice had once made the remark)

that whatever you say to them,

they always purr.”

    ― Lewis Carroll (http://catsatthebar.org/)

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My mother Elizabeth, with her grandpup,

my Shorkie companion Sophie

I have been pondering all this week what is a First Principle of Better Endings associated with Family relations? And I have found the answer, at least for me; it is:

Enduring Solidarity

So I’ve been asking also, how does a family accomplish the principle of Enduring Solidarity? That’s where the above pictures are helpful.

Family is Forever. We know that from the start. It is unconditional love in action. This is what our pets also know; that we love them, no matter what. And they don’t even have to think to offer us the same, from the beginning.

Family members may not always be on the same side of some political or ideological issue. They might practice different religions, live in widely separated geographical locations, and vary in their unique experiences and extended family ties. I rarely get to even see my immediate family together any more at any one time, and my intensely busy life keeps my focus more on my life in Colorado than on keeping up adequately with my family, especially my cousins, aunts/uncles, and nieces and nephews. Nevertheless, Family remains a core value and when it is possible to visit or to speak on the phone, enduring solidarity is immediate and lasting.

How does a family achieve this level of solidarity despite diversity and change in our individual lives? In my family I think it has been mainly a matter of Acceptance. Beyond  expressions of well intended care or concern, neither of my parents nor my siblings have ever tried to influence the choices of their children or siblings, about careers or beliefs, lifestyles or relationships.  We have known from the beginning and somehow understand that a family encompasses diversity in the very Nature of things. Relating this to yesterday’s post, this value of acceptance of diversity in a family, I would say, reflects the underlying awareness that a Family is an archetypal asssemblage to begin with.  We expect to see the growth and development of diversity within a family; in fact we welcome and value the differences that only serve to expand the greater whole of our collective experience.

butterfly on flowers

Enough said. I am deeply Grateful for the Enduring Solidarity that has nurtured my own and All My Family’s individual and collective unfoldment. This includes All My Family at every level and offshoot of connections.