Exclusive: The Mad Gardener’s Song, new verses

Well I never.

Upon a walk in January I looked over by a loch, and saw peeking from a rock, these titled verses do not mock, my weary eyes did flock. Preserved a million or more tick-tock, in an oak box upon them I knock-knock. Its wood gave up the ghost and its contents I did clock, I swear upon the dock.

But here is the thing, there were seven additional stanzas not detailed in any extant publication.

I did consider I would make myself a small fortune and auction them off to the highest bidding Lewis Carroll aficionado but there was all a bother of authenticity and provenance and all that argy-bargy rigmarole. Not enough just to take my word for it apparently.

So I thought I would share with the world and make not a penny from my find. That’s the kind of person I am.

The established version of The Mad Gardener’s Song starts with this stanza

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!’

If you are not familiar or just want to remind yourself of it then the rest is here.

And now without any further fanfare or ado are the extra verses in the sequence of which I faithfully recorded them. Marvel too at the technological propheticness of one stanza.

 

He thought he saw a racing horse

Distracted with a pipe.

He looked again and found it was

A gurning butler’s gripe.

‘At length I realize’ he said,

‘The fitfulness of Skype’.

 

He thought he saw a magistrate

Bewildered by a goose.

He looked again and found it was

A spinster on the loose.

‘It really must be said’ he said,

‘That really is obtuse’.

 

He thought he saw a carpenter

A louche giraffe rebuke.

He looked again and found it was

A lone reclusive Duke.

‘Well I never’ he softly said,

‘He’s come out from his nook.’

 

He thought he saw a mannequin

A customer offend.

He looked again and found it was

A sermon without end.

‘It really ought to stop’ he said,

‘My ways I will not mend’.

 

He thought he saw a publican

A bath of tea did soak.

He looked again and found it was

A man expelled from Stoke.*

‘It is true what they say’ he said,

‘There’s nowt as queer as folk’.

 

He thought he saw a Débutante

Practising long her sigh.

He looked again and found it was

A trampolining spy.

‘To make some sense of this’ he said,

”I guess he thinks he’s sly’.

 

He thought he saw a Naturist

Defiant on the moon.

He looked again and found it was

A yodelling baboon.

‘The way now of the world’ he said,

‘This life is out of tune’.

 

* Here the writing of ‘from’ was difficult to read and it might have read ‘to’ – ‘A man expelled to Stoke’ is equally plausible.

Lewis Carroll was wont to travel widely around the world and even greater wont to leave and lose pages of his work as he went. He never talked about it as as well as causing him great anguish it caused him great embarrassment too. But this does mean you yourselves may find the odd stanza of his floating around your neighbourhood including surprisingly likely verses from this poem.

If you do then please share in the comments below. Such a venture will help bring his long, long work together, and comprehensively this compendium compile.

——-

2.4.2013 – Poem without blog content published to Wattpad.

Dreams – like Vanessa Dakinsky and Natalie Shau

Vanessa Dakinsky - home pageDream II Natalie Shau MadreNot I have a dream. Not play dreams of Genie. Not sweet dreams are made of this with all of us looking for something. Sour dreams then? Getting closer, already way to close. Nightmare. Wake Up.

Seeing the worst in things. Projecting your own internal horror to the world around you.

A juxtaposition of images could be banal but incites in us panic of the strange, against the stranger, feeling the worst even if that moving biped with a teapot for a head is the sweetest of creatures if you just took the time to get to know him, her, it, whatever…if you could just get past the tea coming out of their spout you might find that even if they are not someone/thing you would invite home then they are still an interesting conversationalist at the very least.

My own dreams involve flight – literal flight and of fancy too – becoming invisible, physically stronger or faster, even occasionally I choose to be a wittier version of myself – or so I imagine in the fevered moments of my sleeping…usually though my dreams are like a sleeping soap not much different to my day routines – occasionally a character from a TV program might show up in one of its scenes and which will feel quite unremarkable at the time and shows clearly I watch far too much TV. I have even had a few bloggers show up in my dreams of late. Really! It might have been you! And again clearly demonstrating that I am spending too many hours reading the diverse ramblings – sorry, articulate observations – of bloggers.

Vanessa Dakinsky Helium

Helium by Vanessa Dakinsky

But if my dreams do drift from the banal and it seems as if I am to encounter creatures or shapes that will frighten and unnerve me, a sense of foreboding, then frankly I am a spoil-sport, I know then that I am dreaming and I wake up. I do not wait around to get a good look at the menacing creature coming toward me, so as to stare them in their predatory eye or even to run and hide that much the better to experience the impending horror all the better to record it in my waking hours with the end to make art of it.

Is that what Vanessa Dakinsky and Natalie Shau do? In the name of their art suffer their dreams so as to make life of them again upon their expectant canvas? Or do those who have dreams they cannot make sense of go into art or music or fiction-writing or some other flight from reality profession whereas those who have prosaic dreams – or worse swear to you that they never dream – go into accountancy or news-reading or grave-digging. You can’t be cursed with a dark imagination and dig graves for a living, right?! And if there are any grave-diggers perchance reading this I am happy for you to give me the heads up and put me straight.

Both these artists were featured this week on My Modern Met…and some of the words used to describe them are predictable enough if also unavoidable – juxtaposing, surrealist and here I am hundreds of words about nightmares in and I have yet to mention Alfred Hitchcock or Lewis Carroll.

If I had to set up a Dakinsky versus Shau showdown because modern media likes that sort of thing then I would say Dakinsky is the more compelling artist, Shau the more compelling nightmarist.

Natalie Shau

Hunter’s Dream – Shau

And that perhaps both should see a therapist. But then that might cure them of their art. But again I’m only an unlicensed pop-psychologist so don’t pay too much heed to me.

Both are new names to me, perhaps they are to you too. I am not going to spend too many more words on them as their art does speak for itself. What a cliché. And one I always use when posting about paintings or photography too. Then I will say that art is subjective and you don’t need me to make up your mind for you and that I will just post up the artworks and be done. That is probably what that ‘WordPress Writing Helper, Copy a Post as an existing template’ is for.

I will then go on to add ‘But then what is the fun in that?! in regard to myself usually giving you some of my thoughts anyway. I have blogged too many posts! But hey sometimes the best comments aren’t always the most original ones. I’ve not said that before – ends blog-post wiping the easy stain of cliché off his hands feeling a little more content with himself.

Pleasant dreams.

Vanessa Dakinsky oil on canvas self

Vanessa Dakinsky – self-portrait

Natalie Shau - Dream II - My Leda

Natalie Shau – My Leda