I love the Alice books! Both volumes are up there in my list of favourites, including Billy Liar, Kes, Saturday night and Sunday morning, Lord of the flies, Animal farm, 1984. New favs include The First fifteen lives of Harry August, The Girl with all the gifts, The Devil’s detective.
Anyway, back to Alice – the best character for me has to be the Mad Hatter.
So here is a poem inspired by the master of the tea party!
Behind the public image
the Mad Hatter collects hats. Has
a collection big enough to
crew an up-town, high-end millinery.
Yet he only ever wears one,
inherited, no, pocketed, stolen!
Hence the price tag, obviously
visible, still 10/6 and
in that style.
The laughter lines
around his crazy eyes map
the contours of many a merry mountain range
and grow bigger each day. He laughs
at everything, only notices smiling
faces. All he sees is laughter.
He watches laughter floating
through the air as it litters
his world. He is a natural born
comedian, all is a joke, life is
a riot. He has foreseen his own death,
dying from an acute bout of infectious laffing.
Did you know that his favourite word
is normal? Yet he has no real
comprehension of the definition.
He thinks that he knows
what the word would normally mean.
Sometimes he believes that he observes
normal behaviour. He giggles and thinks
is this normal? He often ponders
is this a normal day? Is everything normal,
normal like me?
He often goes in search of
normality, marching in merriment.
He chuckles and chortles as he
chases normal along the common of
He is only ever able
to offer vain resistance against the sniggers
and titters that loiter on street corners.
His efforts are always futile
as he is repeatedly slapped with the sticks
and the punchlines of mirth.
He is repetitively blinded by tears
of hilarity and he habitually gropes his way toward
the light heartedness of revelation, but in his darkness
he is unable to see or avoid the rabbit hole.