Here is a poem I recently wrote to celebrate the centenary of the birth of one of our great writers, who is famous for his stories for children, but was a fine writer of short stories for adults too: Roald Dahl. He was well known for making up new words, so I have done likewise in my poem. There are also shades of Edward Lear here too, famous most of all for ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’, and I would be surprised if Roald Dahl was not an admirer of his work.
Who can know what the Snaggerwamps look like, or indeed Quoggy Bottom? The pictures suggest what the place may look like, but you can use your own imagination instead! After all, the river doesn’t look very purple, does it? That may be just a trick of the light!
This a poem for kids, perhaps, or for the adult’s inner child.
Down in Quoggy Bottom
The Snaggerwamps lived all the way down
the dipsy-tripsy hill in Quoggy Bottom,
having hopped away from Tattle Town
so long ago that just when I’ve forgotten.
Breakfast every evening was cabbage fish,
which they caught in the purple river
by singing their riddles of gibberish
that made all their enemies quiver.
For the Snaggerwamps had many enemies,
as all strange creatures do,
and they’d eaten up all of the strawberries
that in Quoggy Bottom once grew.
Their language was lovely and yellow
like the sun of a June afternoon,
and they loved to sing songs to the cello,
who complained they were never in tune.
The Snaggerwamps asked lots of questions too
about this and that and who, when and why,
like what to do if your mouth’s shut with glue
or your toe’s in a cherry cheese pie;
or why is the Greater Wart-faced Scum Bum Bird so incredibly shy
and no camels are seen with three humps,
and why we are born if one day we’ll die
and toads are all covered in lumps.
So if you should meet any Snaggerwamps
when you’re frozzwuffling down in the dell,
please answer their curious questinumps
and make friends with those creatures as well.
© Terence the Troublesome Terrapin 2016