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Claire’s story: ‘The Lobster Quadrille’ Monday, 18 January 2010

Posted by carryapoem in Stories.
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by Sir John Tenniel I carry a poem on me at all times – in my mp3 player – and when I don’t have that on me, it’s usually rattling around in my head anyway- because it’s so damned catchy!

The poem is ‘The Lobster Quadrille’ from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the reason why it’s in my mp3 player is because it has been set to music by the wonderfully eccentric and fabulous Neil Ardley, British Jazz polymath extraordinaire. Apart from being a fantastic arrangement dashingly performed by some of the UK’s finest jazz musicians, the words are a celebration of British manners, eccentricity and the absurd.

I will never get tired of it and it is also handy to have in your arsenal of tunes in case you have to walk somewhere quickly, it really spurs you on and you can hardly fail to have a smile on your face when listening to it.
Essential poetry for your pocket.

The Lobster Quadrille

“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail,
“There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle – will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
won’t you join the dance?”
“You can really have no notion how delightful it would be

When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters out to sea!”
But the snail replied “Too far, too far!”, and gave a look askance –
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.

“What matters it how far we go?” his scaly friend replied.
“There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The farther off from England the nearer is to France –
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
won’t you join the dance?”

From Chapter 10 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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