Sunday, May 17, 2020

Out of this World



What better transit out of this world of pathogen-Trump and virus–Corona than to crawl down the rabbit hole or into the looking glass provided by Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll?  His pen name derived from the Latinized scrambled letters of his first and middle names (Lutwidge). The man was a polymath of the first order.
His right and left brain spoke to each other They stammered and pondered and jostled and romped. He contained Euclid and Dionysus, axioms and word-play, in equal measure. There existed within Dodgson his mirror image, Lewis Carroll. The one, a man as exacting as solid geometry alongside the other, unfettered in flights of fancy. 

Dodgson illustrated his first book and was a well-regarded photographer exhibiting at the Royal Academy as well as author of eleven books on math, an ordained deacon and a prodigious inventor. Most of all he delighted the world evermore with his several children’s books which are all the more remarkable in their layers of meaning for adults.
While professor in mathematics and logic at Christ Church College at Oxford in mid-Victorian England he gave full voice to his imaginary life with stories told to the Liddell girls, especially, Alice, age 7-11. It was an oral gift he had, creating his own universe. Only later did he put the tales to paper.
His found the elasticity of words along with the absurdity of convention, through language. I can use a massive dose of that right now. Of course Trump butchers the English language daily but he doesn’t know it. Dodgson’s tongue is in his cheek, Donald’s foot is in his mouth. And my mouth is masked when here comes the Jabberwocky, burbling as he ambles, slain by the vorpol vaccine blade going snicker-snack and off he goes galumphing.
There is a menagerie out there in the garden. Of tiger-lillies, snapdragons and dandelions. I can hear them growl as they prowl. But it’s a peaceable kingdom in pre-Raphaelite England. And there is Gertrude Rose(n)Stein thrice declaring the flower as a three dimensional thing to be gathered now in May, tomorrow we may be …….no, not dying.
(I notice from the obits nobody dies anymore. They pass away. They go to the other shore. They are taken by the Lord. They cross over or go to a better place. Yes, there are days of despair when one (not I) is ready for that proverbial better place.)

It could be worse. We could be in some pestilential prison in a deep dark dock awaiting the sensation of a short sharp shock.
Tis brillig, says the White Knight, tea time, before o’clock. A ceremony ripe to be mocked. And we're in fine fettle so put on the kettle. Where is my hat, gone mad? Can this be the millinery-industrial complex? We shall under go to overcome.
Humpty's been dumped and I'm here with my runcible spoon. So we steep in this cup of madness yet for old land’s sake. The dormouse is stirring. Beware.

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