Nonsense Words & Writing: An English Lesson

This is another, what we did, post.

Somehow I got the idea of looking at nonsense poetry. Remember Ladles & Jellyspoons? My son, Doug used to recite it to anyone who would listen, it was one of his party tricks, along with a repertoire of jokes!

Ladles and Jellyspoons,
I come before you, to stand behind you,
To tell you something I know nothing about.
Next Thursday, which is Good Friday,
There will be a mothers’ meeting for fathers only.
Admission is free, pay at the door,
Pull up a seat and sit on the floor.
We will be discussing the four corners of the round table.

I saw this in some places online attributed to Spike Milligan but in other places it was Annonymous. I always thought it was Spike Milligan.

When searching for this poem I came across the site and The Creative Teaching Space newsletter. We followed some of the suggestions in this basic lesson plan as follows:

Consider nonsense as a literary style, read Spike Milligan, Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky and other nonsense writing. Create nonsense words and their meanings. Make up a poem or a story using these words.

The Jabberwocky website mentioned Brooke Shields on the Muppet Show as Alice in Wonderland! So a Google search brought us to to see this great clip. It is very funny, like all the Muppet Shows it’s for adults too not just children!

We also made up a nonsense word and used it in as many ways as we could – to describe an emotion, a state of being or an object. By the acting and the tone of our voice we had to guess each other’s meaning.

This is part of Jessica’s poem:

Look at the tnoon tonight in the front of your croty,
With a smit on.
While eating gota and bittle,
Don’t forget to look at your timmee,
Watching bettle’s go by and patting smeigel, with your friend sickle.
Over the siftle you will find a mimi.

And then I found this, “Three versions of Jabberwocky prodeuced by running it through a spell checker and taking the first, second and third guesses respectively..Produced by Lee Altenberg” Another very funny take on the Jabberwocky poem.

In high school we put on the musical Jabberwocky. I think I’ve still got the musical score, I was in the band playing my flute. I know that I’ve got photos and other memorabilia somewhere in my shed I think. I hope the mice don’t get to it! I can’t find any references to this play online. Does anyone know of any sites or anything about the play? Perhaps you were in a production of it? I might even dig out my stuff and put it online. 🙂


  1. Anonymous

    hi, i like the poem at the top of a page…i came across it by accident, through google (homework) but i really like it, you should make a book or something! hope you the best for the future, person in england.

  2. cheryl

    I memorized this poem in 1977. Almost everywhere I find it on the internet, it is missing its last few lines. They are as follows: “We thank you for your unkind attention. The next number will be the four corners of the round table.” The poem is found in the book, A Rocket in My Pocket, ed by Carl Withers, publ in 1948. What usually gets quoted is on page 199. BUT the poem continues on the next page, 200, the last page of the book. You can check out an epub copy of the book and all its many other rhymes and poems from It’s a collection of oral poems around the US, so could be much older.

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