Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 3)

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Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 3)

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:00 pm

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
smother rusted grates. Corrugated sheets whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intollerance,
where Catholics were scorned outside the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Storms wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

The outcasts' school endured derision;
cottages lined up like naughty children dressed
in their Sunday best, waiting for someone
to open their doors to a welcoming sky.

“Work with us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
agitated pools cool feet and dilute sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron sings to the wind,
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.


Revision 2

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
smother rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated iron whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intollerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Storms wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

The outcasts' school endures humiliation,
cottages line up like naughty children dressed
in their Sunday best, waiting for someone
to open their doors to a welcoming sky.

“Work with us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
agitated pools cool feet and dilute sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron sings to the wind,
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.


Revision

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
blemish rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated metal whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intolerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Streams wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

The "dirty" school suffers decay and ruination,
cottages line up like naughty children dressed
in their Sunday best, waiting for someone
to open their doors to a welcoming sky.

“Work with us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
agitated pools bathe feet and dilute sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind,
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.


Original

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
by rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated metal whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intolerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside of the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Streams wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

“Work with us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by the small falls and rills;
the jacuzzi pool bathes feet and dilutes sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind,
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.
Last edited by JJWilliamson on Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:54 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Traces of industry near Sheffield Pike

Post by ray miller » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:25 am

I wondered if Seldom Seen is a real place, so I looked and found a 2 minute video on YouTube which explains your story. I think you could make more of the intolerance (one l, by the way) in the poem and title.
I'm not keen on the repetition of Seldom Seen, you could find a synonym for the first one.
Maybe remove "yet still" from the penultimate line. It makes for over-portentousness, I think.
Enjoyed it a lot.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Traces of industry near Sheffield Pike

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:02 pm

Thanks for the pointers, Ray. Changed the spelling. The title is a play on words with 'Trace' acting as a reference to ghosts and industry at one and the same time.
I wondered about an extra strophe to highlight the prejudice. Let me ruminate.

The first time I walked past Seldom Seen I was struck by the isolation and assumed they were built close to the mine for the workers' convenience. It never crossed my mind that forced segregation of Catholics was behind the secret and seldom seen row of Seldom Seen. It's a lovely spot but it has a nasty history, and a somewhat dubious name.

Sheffield Pike is a treat of a mountain, and one that took me by surprise when I eventually climbed its flanks. Helvelyn is close by so the world and his dog heads for this loftier giant. I usually did, but not on the day of the corrugated iron. It was a loose roof sheet that banged and whooped as the wind blew. It gave the empty valley an eerie feel, sort of ghostly. The mine is some way up the mountain and can't be seen from the bottom, so it comes as a shock when this ghost town opens up before your eyes.

Thanks again

JJ
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Re: Traces of industry near Sheffield Pike

Post by RCJames » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:58 am

I admire your command of bucolic scenes - here there's the contrast with urban development - effective clatter and collision.

The closing two lines are super:

"...yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind,
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness."

Thoroughly enjoyed this - RC

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Re: Traces of industry near Sheffield Pike

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:07 pm

Thank you very much, Ft, for the kind words. Appreciated.

I think it's great when a poem evokes memories in others, because I know exactly how that feels. Delighted you enjoyed.

Thank you very much, RC, for showing me the lines you liked. Appreciated. I'm posting a revision, as per Ray's suggestion, after this reply
to help point the reader in the right direction. That's the general aim, anyway.

Best to both

JJ
Last edited by JJWilliamson on Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Traces of industrial apartheid near Sheffield Pike (revi

Post by David » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:10 pm

I like it too, JJ. Fascinating story.

Have you considered cutting the last verse? You'd have a nice little sonnet - or sonnet-like thing - then.

Not that nice little sonnets are the answer to everything.

Cheers

David

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Re: Traces of industrial apartheid near Sheffield Pike (revi

Post by Macavity » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:14 am

cottages line up like naughty children dressed
in their Sunday best
What a lovely notion JJ.
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.
Is then needed? The comma gives the pause? Also wondered if thrum is a bit of a poetry word?

enjoyed

mac

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Re: Traces of industrial apartheid near Sheffield Pike (revi

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:55 am

Thanks, David and mac, for dropping in to comment. Appreciated.
David wrote:I like it too, JJ. Fascinating story. ...I couldn't believe it and neither could my companions when I mentioned it later on in the year.

Have you considered cutting the last verse? You'd have a nice little sonnet - or sonnet-like thing - then. ... I hadn't, but now that you mention it, it's an interesting idea. I can't believe I missed the possibility.

Not that nice little sonnets are the answer to everything. ... :lol: I know a few who would say they were.

Cheers

David
Macavity wrote:
cottages line up like naughty children dressed
in their Sunday best
What a lovely notion JJ. ...Thanks for that, mac. I thought Sunday seemed like an appropriate day and quite liked the dressed/best rhyme. Then there's the image. I wondered if any of my thoughts would come through; one of my eternal problems.

and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.
Is then needed? The comma gives the pause? Also wondered if thrum is a bit of a poetry word? ... :D It might be. It's a great rhyming word so I can see how it might have been done to death. It SEEMED like the right choice, though. Let me think on it.

enjoyed

mac
Thanks again

Best to both

JJ
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Re: Traces of industrial apartheid near Sheffield Pike (revi

Post by Firebird » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:15 am

Hi JJ,

I enjoyed the read. Some specific comments below.
JJWilliamson wrote:Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
blemish rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated metal whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony. (Lovely first stanza, but not sure about that last sentence. Doesn’t the previous sentence describe the effects of the wind?)

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intolerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Streams wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

The "dirty" school suffers decay and ruination,
cottages line up like naughty children dressed (great line, but it is in stark constrast to the very telly sentence beforehand.)
in their Sunday best, waiting for someone
to open their doors to a welcoming sky. (Lovely)

“Work among us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
agitated pools bathe feet and dilute sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind, (Not sure the repetition adds a lot here)
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.(Lovely last line).

Enjoyed JJ!

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Traces of industrial apartheid near Sheffield Pike (revi

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:15 pm

Thanks, Tristan, for taking the time to look and comment. Always appreciated.
Firebird wrote:Hi JJ,

I enjoyed the read. Some specific comments below.
JJWilliamson wrote:Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
blemish rusted grates. Sheets of corrugated metal whoop
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony. (Lovely first stanza, but not sure about that last sentence. Doesn’t the previous sentence describe the effects of the wind?) ...Well, yes, it does, BUT, a number of sounds were evident and they seemed to come from different directions, causing the most intense sonic experience. You'd suddenly be buffeted, the corrugated sheeting would skirl and whoop and a hum would reverberate around the dell. All of this came together and at once.

Hills conceal traces of wealth and intolerance,
where papists were seldom seen outside the rows
and gardens of Seldom Seen. Streams wash grit
from white becks, and rapids drown the noise.

The "dirty" school suffers decay and ruination,
cottages line up like naughty children dressed (great line, but it is in stark contrast to the very telly sentence beforehand.) ...I'll take another look to see if I can give it a lift.
in their Sunday best, waiting for someone
to open their doors to a welcoming sky. (Lovely)

“Work among us, if ye must, whilst we need ye,
but don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
agitated pools bathe feet and dilute sweat,
yet still the corrugated iron whoops with the wind, (Not sure the repetition adds a lot here) ...Yeh, I've been wondering about that repetition. Not sure myself.
as if chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.(Lovely last line).

Enjoyed JJ!

Cheers,

Tristan

Pleased you enjoyed

Best

JJ

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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:23 am

Revised again.

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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by Macavity » Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:43 am

I think the quality of endurance was a point worth making. Can't say if sings is better than repeating 'whoops'. I guess it is quieter and chanting can be musical. Not sure.

best

mac

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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by churinga » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:46 am

corrugated metal sounds wrong, corrugated iron is the accepted term. I think the idea of adding discipline to the poem by adopting a sonnet form or similar, eg 3L/4V would help give the poem coherence. I think the history is implied in the atmosphere you create and for me putting the history in the poem was too didactic.

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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:47 am

Thank you very much, mac and Ross, for the helpful comments. Always appreciated.
Macavity wrote:I think the quality of endurance was a point worth making. Can't say if sings is better than repeating 'whoops'. I guess it is quieter and chanting can be musical. Not sure. ...I wasn't sure either and quite liked the emphasis of the double 'whooped'. I will ponder anew! :)

best

mac
churinga wrote:corrugated metal sounds wrong, corrugated iron is the accepted term. ...Yes, agreed. I have 'iron' further down so I might opt for "sheeting".

I think the idea of adding discipline to the poem by adopting a sonnet form or similar, eg 3L/4V would help give the poem coherence. ...I'm not averse to the idea of a sonnet but I rejected strict rhyme and meter for a simpler approach to the problem, a voice from the grave, perhaps.

I think the history is implied in the atmosphere you create and for me putting the history in the poem was too didactic. ...There is a kind of preachy quality, perhaps from the pulpit. :) You'd have to be more specific, Ross. Which sections did you find too didactic? I was concerned that the history was lost due to vagueness and I always think of didacticism as rather precise, if a bit assertive. Does it smack of political, religious assertiveness? Very interesting comment. Thanks.
Best to both

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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by lotus » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:43 pm

dear JJ

lots to admire here

this is my first read
&

having lived myself for years in a cottage in the Caribbean
with a corrugated roof

for me 'iron" is not needed
i know the noise of pieces flying off in the wind
and the sound of rain pelting its skin

i will return to read again

a warm smile
silent lotus
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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by Perry » Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:42 am

Somehow I overlooked this poem -- sorry. I haven't read the other critiques at this point.

The language is certainly clear and poetic, but it doesn't move me a great deal, and I've been trying to figure out why. It's been my experience that poetry which is all description (especially of a scene or inanimate objects) is hard to relate to on an emotional level. The poet, walking into such a scene, may see something very evocative, but translating that into words so the reader feels it can be very difficult. As an example, I was walking down the street in my neighborhood one day, and I came across a car which had been in an accident. The windshield had two large webbed cracks in it where the heads of the front seat occupants had hit the glass. When I saw that, my heart sank, because I knew what it meant. Assuming that the occupants had survived at all, it meant a lifetime of likely mental and emotional problems because of brain trauma -- possibly even dementia or paralysis -- and all because they hadn't bothered to buckle up. But a mere description of such a vehicle might not make a reader feel anything at all.

In my view, the poem needs some action, and also needs a human presence -- either the narrator's or someone else's. The description of the scene needs to be tied into an event involving people. There is a little of that in the final stanza, and for that reason the final stanza is the best part of the poem. But the tragedy of apartheid hasn't been revealed just by describing this scene, and I think that's what you are trying to do.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:58 am

Thank you very much, Lotus and Perry, for the surprising critiques. I thought this one had done the journey. No prob's.
lotus wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:43 pm
dear JJ

lots to admire here ...Thank you. I'm delighted you enjoyed the poem, Lotus.

this is my first read
&

having lived myself for years in a cottage in the Caribbean
with a corrugated roof

for me 'iron" is not needed
i know the noise of pieces flying off in the wind
and the sound of rain pelting its skin ...Thank you for the very salient pointer and the voice of experience. I will revise accordingly.

i will return to read again ...Music to my ears. :)

a warm smile
silent lotus


Good points there, Perry, and ones I agree with. It's an old poem so I had the benefit of hindsight when it popped back to the top of the page. It was written for one of PG's competitions btw. The poem refers to religious segregation near the beautiful villages of Patterdale and Glenridding, in the English Lake District, where Catholics were forced to live apart from the rest of the community. Their labour was welcome but not their presence, and even the name of the row of cottages they were exiled to carried the message, IE Seldom Seen. There's more further up the thread, at least I think there is. They even built a separate school for the "Papist" children so the kids didn't have to mix. There are subliminal layers which are secondary to the literal interp'.

Thanks for the very thoughtful and well reasoned critique.

Best to both

JJ
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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by 1lankest » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:12 am

How did I miss this one? Gosh you write well, JJ, excellent command of language, metre etc.

I have to say I think Perry makes some valid points. I don’t think this engages on an emotional level as it might. His suggestion of adding some action, or focussing the discriptions through the lens of some subject or another with a particular point of view, would be a good place to start. Bodkin (Ian) would always insist on this and argue, usually correctly, that a poem was emotionally impotent unless it was permeated with a clear, visceral viewpoint.

Hope this helps some.

L

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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:04 am

Thank you very much, Luke, for the generous and astute critique. Appreciated.
1lankest wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:12 am
How did I miss this one? Gosh you write well, JJ, excellent command of language, metre etc. ...Ah, it popped back up to the top of the page, unexpectedly, courtesy of our friend, Lotus. I wasn't expecting such excellent feedback.

I have to say I think Perry makes some valid points. ...Agreed

I don’t think this engages on an emotional level as it might. His suggestion of adding some action, or focussing the discriptions through the lens of some subject or another with a particular point of view, would be a good place to start. Bodkin (Ian) would always insist on this and argue, usually correctly, that a poem was emotionally impotent unless it was permeated with a clear, visceral viewpoint. ...Yes, I felt there was an emotional gap, where the ache and desolation of spirit wasn't apparent. I have an idea or two but they may take some time to formulate. :)

Hope this helps some. ...Yes, it helps me to refocus. Thanks for that.

L
Best

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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 2)

Post by 1lankest » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:19 pm

No worries Jj, looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

L

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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 3)

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:22 pm

Thanks, Luke. I've made a few changes for clarity's sake, for better for worse, in sickness and in health, based on the critiques
received thus far.

Best

JJ
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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 3)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:26 pm

.
Hi JJ,
forgive my tardiness.
Good read, interesting subject.

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
- think you could do better than 'creep' because
'smother' is excellent'.
smother rusted grates. Corrugated sheets whoop
- do you need 'whoop and' ? 'Corrugated sheets skirl'
sounds great.
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.

- not sure what 'wind gusts...' adds.

For your consideration:

Seldom Seen/These hills hide traces of wealth

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners' paths,
smother rusted grates. Corrugated sheets skirl
clattering against the abandoned walls.

The outcasts' school endured derision;
cottages lined up like naughty children
neat in their Sunday best, waiting for someone

to open their doors to a welcoming sky.
“Work with us, if ye must. Whilst we need ye.
But don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
while the corrugated iron sings to the wind,
chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.

S2 - spelling - intolerance.
'scorned' and then 'derision' (same thing?)

Should the quote (S4) be three sentences.
(Periods not commas?) The phrasing seems
awkward.

S5 - any way to avoid the repetition of 'corrugated'.
'to the wind/to ghosts'. One to too many?
(Bit lost on why the 'iron' would need forgiveness.
Weren't they the 'victims'?)


Regards, Not.


.

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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 3)

Post by lotus » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:02 pm

dear JJ

i have tiptoed in a few times
and thought it about time
to let you know

i am still enjoying

silent lotus
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Re: Traces of Apartheid Near Sheffield Pike (rev 3)

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:59 pm

Hi, Not

Thanks for giving this one the once over. Appreciated, as always.
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:26 pm
.
Hi JJ,
forgive my tardiness.
Good read, interesting subject.

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners’ paths,
- think you could do better than 'creep' because ...It's supposed to show how the lichen slowly reclaims the clearing, millimetre by millimetre.
'smother' is excellent'.
smother rusted grates. Corrugated sheets whoop
- do you need 'whoop and' ? 'Corrugated sheets skirl'
sounds great. ...They did make a whoop whoop whoop sound, like a loud wobble board. Let me look at it again.
and skirl, then clatter against the abandoned walls
of old derelicts. Wind gusts thrum in harmony.

- not sure what 'wind gusts...' adds. ...Just adds to the music or cacophony that hits the senses all at once.

For your consideration:

Seldom Seen/These hills hide traces of wealth

Moss and grey lichen creep over miners' paths,
smother rusted grates. Corrugated sheets skirl
clattering against the abandoned walls.

The outcasts' school endured derision;
cottages lined up like naughty children
neat in their Sunday best, waiting for someone

to open their doors to a welcoming sky.
“Work with us, if ye must. Whilst we need ye.
But don’t ye dare to live among us”.

Walkers chatter by small falls and rills;
while the corrugated iron sings to the wind,
chanting to ghosts for forgiveness.

S2 - spelling - intolerance. ...Good catch!
'scorned' and then 'derision' (same thing?) ...Kind of, but one relates to sarcasm from the school kids.

Should the quote (S4) be three sentences.
(Periods not commas?) The phrasing seems
awkward. ...No, I don't think so. It's also speech, where the rules of grammar are less rigid.

S5 - any way to avoid the repetition of 'corrugated'.
'to the wind/to ghosts'. One to too many?
(Bit lost on why the 'iron' would need forgiveness. ...Ah, it's just a metaphor for how we see things differently now, at least most of us do. The iron roofs/buildings etc witnessed the abuse and segregation. They are of the mine.
Weren't they the 'victims'?)


Regards, Not.


.
Thanks again for your thoughts.

Best

JJ

Thanks, Lotus, for dropping in to tell me how you visit this piece from time to time. I should do more of that, because I often revisit a poem for a few more reads, yet rarely let the author know if I've already critiqued it.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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