A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revision 2)

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JJWilliamson
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A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revision 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:03 am

The torn and pitted lawn requires
another box of ryegrass seed;
gnawed and twisted feeder wires
litter the beds like stubborn weeds.

Tulips stretch beneath the trees
and push their leaves through last year’s fall;
sciurines scamper where they please,
from washing line to garden wall.

They hang from twigs to filch a snack
and rummage through the daffodils,
leap like cats then arch a back
to land upon the windowsills.

They hop-bob over pansy pots,
dart from larch to laurel tree,
ruin the forget-me-nots,
then set about a wrecking spree.

Squirrel antics never cease,
those greys have much to answer for,
though when they want a moment’s peace
they flick a bushy semaphore.

How could a gardener cite disease
against such acrobats as these,
when every day they flaunt, with ease,
funambulistic tendencies.


Revision

The torn and pitted lawn requires
another box of ryegrass seed;
gnawed and twisted feeder wires
litter the beds like stubborn weeds.

Tulips stretch beneath the trees
and push their leaves through last year’s fall,
yet squirrels scamper where they please,
from washing line to garden wall.

They hang from twigs to filch a snack
and rummage through the daffodils,
leap like cats then arch a back
to land upon the windowsills

They hop-bob over pansy pots,
dart from larch to laurel tree,
ruin the forget-me-nots,
then set about a wrecking spree.

Sciurine antics never cease,
those greys have much to answer for,
though when they want a moment’s peace
they flick a bushy semaphore.

How could a gardener cite disease
among such acrobats as these,
when every day they flaunt, with ease,
funambulistic tendencies.


Original


The torn and pitted lawn requires
another box of ryegrass seed;
gnawed and twisted feeder wires
litter the beds like stubborn weeds.

Tulips stretch beneath the trees
and push their tips through last year’s fall,
yet squirrels roam wherever they please,
from washing line to garden wall.

They hang from twigs to filch a snack
and rummage through the daffodils,
leap like hares then arch a back
to land upon the windowsills

They hop-bob over pansy pots,
dart from larch to laurel tree,
ruin the forget-me-nots,
then set about a wrecking spree.

Sciurine antics never cease,
greys have a lot to answer for,
but when they want a moment’s peace
they flick a bushy semaphore.

How could a gardener cite disease
amongst such acrobats as these,
when every day they flaunt, with ease,
funambulistic tendencies.
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Funambulists (A Bit of Fun)

Post by Firebird » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:51 am

Really enjoyed it JJ. I think it hints at a defence of immigrants, which as you can probably imagine I fully support.
they flick a bushy semaphore.
That’s a fantastic image. I can see it so clearly.
yet squirrels roam wherever they please,
from washing line to garden wall.
These two lines feel a bit too much like padding to me and don’t pull their weight in the same way the other lines do.
funambulistic tendencies.
It’s a great ending.

Really enjoyed.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Funambulists (A Bit of Fun)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:33 am

.
Hi JJ,
elegantly and lightly done (as one would expect)
but one or two sentences don't convince.


The Fabulous Funambulists ?

S1. ?
here gnawed and twisted feeder wires
litter beds like stubborn weeds
?

S2. Not following 'yet' - are you using it as a conjunction?
Really want a where ere instead of wherever :)
L4. Doesn't the 'washing line' preempt the ending?
(from branch, to shed, to garden wall ?)

S4. 'race' for 'dart' ? Or something to pair with the
charming 'hop-bob' ? (dip-dart ?)
L4 - first they 'ruin' then they 'set about ...' ?

S5 ?
those greys have much to answer for ?

S6 'Amongst' to 'such' is a bit tricky (why not 'among'?)
?
How could a gardener cite disease
when faced by acrobats like these
who, without a by-your-leave,
flaunt funambulistic tendencies.

(Could go for a bit more of the 'Roll up, roll up' to the ending).


Regards, Not



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Re: Funambulists (A Bit of Fun)

Post by Macavity » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:49 pm

Sciurine - that's one I didn't know JJ. The poem skips along with some pace, unforced rhymes, and I particularly liked the analogy of weeds and the twisted wires. I do feel the poem works best where the focus is on the squirrels...energetic and 'wrecking'...the fun of hop-bob over pansy pots. I don't think the tulips add any zip to the poem and why bring in the analogy to hares?! I see you have the daffodils in there :)

cheers

mac

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Re: Funambulists (A Bit of Fun)

Post by twoleftfeet » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:16 pm

Great fun,JJ - love the title!

A couple of very minor nits:

A slight bump on "wherever" in S2 L3 ,for me.
I'm wondering whether you could replace "roam" with a 2-syllable word e.g "scamper" which would allow you to use "where"?

In S3,L3" - "like hares".
Don't hares just jump and down (more or less) with excitement? - just asking.
"Cats" can do what you are describing,though.

Cheers
Geoff
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Re: Funambulists (A Bit of Fun)

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:43 am

Thank you very much, as always, Tristan, Not, Mac and Geoff, for the thoughtful AND very helpful crit's. Appreciated.

Sorry about the tardy response but I've been at my brother's for a few days, down in good ol' Newark. We visited Sir Isaac Newton's house to see where the master lived and worked and even saw the world famous apple tree. They say it's the original even though it was destroyed during storms, or something like that. Apparently the root survived and a new tree developed, from which they took cuttings. They planted these "new" trees around the gardens AND found a market for exports. :D

We also a enjoyed a few beers and an expensive curry, which was superb. Just saying.

I digress.
Firebird wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:51 am
Really enjoyed it JJ. I think it hints at a defence of immigrants, which as you can probably imagine I fully support. ...Great to read this. Tolerance and forbearance, combined with a fresh perspective are the central themes.
they flick a bushy semaphore.
That’s a fantastic image. I can see it so clearly. ...Delighted you liked.
yet squirrels roam wherever they please,
from washing line to garden wall.
These two lines feel a bit too much like padding to me and don’t pull their weight in the same way the other lines do. ...Yes, it's something of a leap. Pardon the pun. :)
funambulistic tendencies.
It’s a great ending. ...I smiled my head off when I eventually managed to slot a two word line of iambic tetrameter into the mix. Fun indeed.

Really enjoyed.

Cheers,

Tristan
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:33 am
.
Hi JJ,
elegantly and lightly done (as one would expect) ...Too kind.
but one or two sentences don't convince.


The Fabulous Funambulists ?

S1. ?
here gnawed and twisted feeder wires
litter beds like stubborn weeds
? ...Ah, they wreck the bird feeders even though they are made from pretty sturdy wire, the remnants of which litter the flower borders. They opening stanza shows two separate images.

S2. Not following 'yet' - are you using it as a conjunction? ...It's meant to show how the squirrels are everywhere by comparison. The plants grow and thrive in a nicely controlled manner but the squirrels are seemingly out of control. I'll revisit that section for a closer look.
Really want a where ere instead of wherever :) ...Not for me, Not. :)
L4. Doesn't the 'washing line' preempt the ending? ...Or supports it. Boom boom. I see it as a guide.
(from branch, to shed, to garden wall ?) ...Worth a tinker methinks.

S4. 'race' for 'dart' ? Or something to pair with the ...There are a few options and I'm not averse to a reassessment.
charming 'hop-bob' ? (dip-dart ?)
L4 - first they 'ruin' then they 'set about ...' ? ...One implies something specific, the other hints at general mayhem. I see what you mean, though.

S5 ?
those greys have much to answer for ? ...Yes, that'll do for me. I'll see how it sits.

S6 'Amongst' to 'such' is a bit tricky (why not 'among'?) ...I've been toying with the same thought myself. It IS a mouthful isn't it.
?
How could a gardener cite disease
when faced by acrobats like these
who, without a by-your-leave,
flaunt funambulistic tendencies.

(Could go for a bit more of the 'Roll up, roll up' to the ending). ...It's in the right area but the meter's awry. Actually, the meter is a bit tricky in my line as well, mainly because there's a case for three stresses. The closing syllable is fairly weak and I'm attributing a feminine stress. It does fit rhythmically so I'm happy to call the closing foot a pyrrhic.


Regards, Not



.
Macavity wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:49 pm
Sciurine - that's one I didn't know JJ. The poem skips along with some pace, unforced rhymes, and I particularly liked the analogy of weeds and the twisted wires. I do feel the poem works best where the focus is on the squirrels...energetic and 'wrecking'...the fun of hop-bob over pansy pots. I don't think the tulips add any zip to the poem and why bring in the analogy to hares?! I see you have the daffodils in there :)

...I must admit I wasn't particularly thrilled with the hares either. I'll change it to "cats" to keep the garden theme running.

The tulips are there simply because they are, in fact, there. :)

Yes, I wondered if you'd mention/notice the daff's. Nice to slot a reference to WW in there somewhere. :)

cheers

mac
twoleftfeet wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:16 pm
Great fun,JJ - love the title! ...Good to read that.

A couple of very minor nits:

A slight bump on "wherever" in S2 L3 ,for me.
I'm wondering whether you could replace "roam" with a 2-syllable word e.g "scamper" which would allow you to use "where"? ...It's worth another look because it fits from a metrical pov.

In S3,L3" - "like hares".
Don't hares just jump and down (more or less) with excitement? - just asking. ...They also leap into a run when startled.
"Cats" can do what you are describing,though. ...Yes, AND they make far more sense. :)

Cheers
Geoff
Thanks again, guys, for the great replies.

Best to all

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Funambulists (A Bit of Fun)

Post by David » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:37 am

Macavity wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:49 pm
Sciurine - that's one I didn't know JJ.
Me neither. Or, to be honest, funambulists. Good word.

Great fun! I didn't particularly notice the political commentary, if any. Was there? Maybe I just read it too lazily. (I just read it again. Still didn't see it, although I can see - I think - where it might be found. Enjoyed it again, though.)

Cheers

David

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Re: Funambulists (A Bit of Fun) (revised)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:07 am

.
Hi JJ,
glad to see you've got rid of those stray 'hares'.


Just a Bit of Fun(ambulism)


The torn and pitted lawn requires
another box of ryegrass seed;

- My issue wasn't with meaning, but punctuation. How 'two separate images' are contrasted.
Maybe an em dash, or period rather than a semi colon. I've a similar problem with S2.
gnawed and twisted feeder wires
litter the beds like stubborn weeds.


Tulips stretch beneath the trees
and push their leaves through last year’s fall,

- I'm not really getting the 'control' you mention. Perhaps because of the fun 'leaves' through 'fall'.
Is there a way to characterise the 'Tulips'? Something like,
and primly push through last year's fall ?
Or might they be 'in ranks/rows' instead of 'stretch' ?
yet squirrels scamper where they please,
- maybe just 'the' for 'yet' ?
from washing line to garden wall.
- Still not keen on the 'washing line' ('support' notwithstanding) but do like it when taken in
conjunction with 'hang' in the next line (which I've only just noticed!)

They hang from twigs to filch a snack
- Could they be hanging like some particular item of clothing? Say yes to 'pants'!
and rummage through the daffodils,
- maybe 'they' for 'and' ?
leap like cats then arch a back
they arch a back like acrobats,
when landing on the windowsills?
?
- I know it messes up your 'acrobats' in S6, but you might consider 'aerialists' as an alternative
there (fits nicely with funambulistic, I think).
to land upon the windowsills

They hop-bob over pansy pots,
dart from larch to laurel tree,

- maybe 'bolt' for 'dart' ?
ruin the forget-me-nots,
ravaging forget-me-nots ?
then set about a wrecking spree.
each sortie is a wrecking spree ?

Sciurine antics never cease,
those greys have much to answer for,
but when they want a moment’s peace

- Maybe 'though' for 'but' ?
they flick a bushy semaphore.

- Feels like there's room for another verse here.

How could a gardener cite disease
- should 'a' be 'any'?
among such acrobats as these,
when every day they flaunt, with ease,
funambulistic tendencies.

I still think there's room for improvement (as in, a bigger finish) with this verse.
Leaving the meter to you,
How could any gardener cite disease
when thrilling aerialists like these
daily flash and flaunt, with ease,
such fantastic, lithe gymnastic,
funambulistic tendencies.

(Now, can I have a drum-roll, please?)



Regards, Not


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Re: Funambulists (A Bit of Fun)

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:15 am

Thanks for the welcome comments, David. Appreciated.

Pleased you enjoyed this one.
David wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:37 am
Macavity wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:49 pm
Sciurine - that's one I didn't know JJ.
Me neither. Or, to be honest, funambulists. Good word. ...I thought two odd words was enough. :)

Great fun! I didn't particularly notice the political commentary, if any. Was there? Maybe I just read it too lazily. (I just read it again. Still didn't see it, although I can see - I think - where it might be found. Enjoyed it again, though.) ...The literal thrust is all important but the subliminal afterthoughts add another layer. Squirrels are increasingly receiving some bad press, and understandably so when you consider the havoc they cause. However, they also add so much to my day that I believe they're worth tolerating. "Remove the tail and you'd have a rat" - True - BUT if I changed my legs for wheels I'd be a bike. :)

Tolerance and fortitude!


Cheers

David


Thanks for returning, Not. Appreciated.
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:07 am
.
Hi JJ,
glad to see you've got rid of those stray 'hares'. ...Yes, agreed.


Just a Bit of Fun(ambulism) ...I really like this alternative and might well use it. There's NO 'might' in it. :)


The torn and pitted lawn requires
another box of ryegrass seed;

- My issue wasn't with meaning, but punctuation. How 'two separate images' are contrasted.
Maybe an em dash, or period rather than a semi colon. I've a similar problem with S2.
gnawed and twisted feeder wires
litter the beds like stubborn weeds.
...I'm ok with S2 but could change S1. S1's semi was originally a comma, which just didn't feel right given the hefty switch. BUT, a full stop was too much. Let me ruminate further.

Tulips stretch beneath the trees
and push their leaves through last year’s fall,

- I'm not really getting the 'control' you mention. Perhaps because of the fun 'leaves' through 'fall'. ...They are there through the gardeners deliberate actions and are controlled by his decisions.
Is there a way to characterise the 'Tulips'? Something like,
and primly push through last year's fall ?
Or might they be 'in ranks/rows' instead of 'stretch' ? ...The stretching is an image of them reaching towards the sun during early growth. I'm pretty happy with it, even though I searched for alternatives.
yet squirrels scamper where they please,
- maybe just 'the' for 'yet' ? ...It's a moot point and one that I HAVE been considering. The tulips provide a show but only in one place. The squirrels also provide a show, only they perform wherever they please.
from washing line to garden wall.
- Still not keen on the 'washing line' ('support' notwithstanding) but do like it when taken in
conjunction with 'hang' in the next line (which I've only just noticed!)

They hang from twigs to filch a snack
- Could they be hanging like some particular item of clothing? Say yes to 'pants'! ...An interesting suggestion but it would have to be a very strong image to work. I'm not sure about "They hang like pants/socks/bras/shirts to filch a snack". "String" has possibilities.
and rummage through the daffodils,
- maybe 'they' for 'and' ?
leap like cats then arch a back
they arch a back like acrobats,
when landing on the windowsills?
?
- I know it messes up your 'acrobats' in S6, but you might consider 'aerialists' as an alternative
there (fits nicely with funambulistic, I think).
to land upon the windowsills ...This was the trickiest stanza to write and perhaps it shows. Still, I'm ok with it as it stands for the present.

They hop-bob over pansy pots,
dart from larch to laurel tree,

- maybe 'bolt' for 'dart' ? ...It's a good alternative but 'dart' and 'larch' are just too delicious. :)
ruin the forget-me-nots,
ravaging forget-me-nots ? ...Squirrels, not rabbits! :shock:
then set about a wrecking spree.
each sortie is a wrecking spree ?

Sciurine antics never cease,
those greys have much to answer for,
but when they want a moment’s peace

- Maybe 'though' for 'but' ? ...Yes, that's a better transition. Consider it changed.
they flick a bushy semaphore.

- Feels like there's room for another verse here.

How could a gardener cite disease
- should 'a' be 'any'? ...It could be but doesn't have to be.
among such acrobats as these,
when every day they flaunt, with ease,
funambulistic tendencies.

I still think there's room for improvement (as in, a bigger finish) with this verse.
Leaving the meter to you,
How could any gardener cite disease
when thrilling aerialists like these
daily flash and flaunt, with ease,
such fantastic, lithe gymnastic,
funambulistic tendencies. ...Ha, you're leaving the meter to me. It's not so bad but I prefer my version. :)

(Now, can I have a drum-roll, please?)
...Consider it rolled. (down the hill)

Some cool suggestions, Not. Thanks again.



Regards, Not


.
Best to both

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revised)

Post by bjondon » Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:11 pm

Hi JJ - a sprightly piece. I am entirely in love with S1 but at a loss as to how to rev up the rest to match it.
I don't think the tulips and daffs are doing much - perhaps more technical details re what the squirrels are actually doing to/with them.
I'd like a lot more garden apparatus please.
Maybe begin with more build up of ominously ambiguous twisted and destroyed 'things' (I loved how 'feeders' has a creepy sentient possibility to it) - and then suddenly have The Fabulous Funambulists burst onto the scene.
An alt for S5L3? - 'I ask, and yes, they do reply'
Sorry to come in at this late stage and wreck everything :) ~
Jules

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Re: A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revised)

Post by JJWilliamson » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:31 am

Thank you very much, Jules, for the thoughts and suggestions. Always appreciated.
bjondon wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:11 pm
Hi JJ - a sprightly piece. I am entirely in love with S1 but at a loss as to how to rev up the rest to match it.
I don't think the tulips and daffs are doing much - perhaps more technical details re what the squirrels are actually doing to/with them. ...Ah, an interesting point. I'm using simple observations by identifying things and locations in my own garden. I see no reason why I couldn't add more, though. It could be in danger of image overload if I keep adding stuff to the mix, especially when it all leads to the closing stanza.
I'd like a lot more garden apparatus please. ...Well, there's a weathervane, some garden furniture, bird table, standing and hanging feeders and various pots. There's also a couple of gnome-like things somewhere, ones my son bought when he was but a wee boy. :) I wrote a poem about them, I did. I'll experiment to see what emerges.
Maybe begin with more build up of ominously ambiguous twisted and destroyed 'things' (I loved how 'feeders' has a creepy sentient possibility to it) - and then suddenly have The Fabulous Funambulists burst onto the scene.
An alt for S5L3? - 'I ask, and yes, they do reply' ...They really do communicate with each other by sending signals through tail flicks. I was amazed when I read that fact
Sorry to come in at this late stage and wreck everything :) ~ ...All wreckage gratefully received. You must have some squirrel in you. :)
Jules
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JJ
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Re: A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revised)

Post by 1lankest » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:52 pm

I liked s1 a lot, Jj, but then lost interest by the end. Not sure why. Perhaps it reflects badly on me.
Still, I can see it’s a fun piece and there’s lots to admire, namely your command of metre an rhyme.

Luke

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Re: A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revised)

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:34 am

Thanks for looking in on this one, Luke. Much appreciated.

No prob's! I know it's not for everyone and fully understand why you might have drifted as the poem progressed. Nee botha! as we say up north. :)

Pleased the rhyme and meter had the desired effect.

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Re: A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revised)

Post by bjondon » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:35 pm

Squirrel Jules here . . . this afternoon I am liking the juxtaposition of animate/inanimate - the wires and weeds, then the rooted flowers and the liberated mammals.
A couple of suggestions : L6 - 'lips' instead of 'leaves' (they're already 'stretching')
L7 - instead of 'yet squirrels' maybe 'sciurines' …that postpones the reveal, is quite unsettling.
Also I'd end L6 with a semi-colon. It's an 'on the one hand, on the other hand' stanza, but I find the 'yet' oddly confusing, I think the semi would do the job.
Best,
Jules~

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Re: A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revised)

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:53 am

Thanks again, Jules, for the great response.
bjondon wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:35 pm
Squirrel Jules here . . . this afternoon I am liking the juxtaposition of animate/inanimate - the wires and weeds, then the rooted flowers and the liberated mammals.
A couple of suggestions : L6 - 'lips' instead of 'leaves' (they're already 'stretching') ...Tulips and lips is a bit of a mouthful. :)
L7 - instead of 'yet squirrels' maybe 'sciurines' …that postpones the reveal, is quite unsettling. ...That's a great idea! Yes, consider it duly changed.
Also I'd end L6 with a semi-colon. It's an 'on the one hand, on the other hand' stanza, but I find the 'yet' oddly confusing, I think the semi would do the job. ...That would definitely work and the meter holds.
Best,
Jules~
Much appreciated suggestions.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revision 2)

Post by ray miller » Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:27 am

Lovely rhyme and rhythm. A few things - litter the beds like stubborn weeds. I'd leave out "the", better rhythm. I don't think the penultimate verse adds much.
How could a gardener cite disease
among such acrobats as these,

I don't really understand why he would or would not cite disease because of the squirrels?
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revision 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:42 am

Thanks, Ray, for looking in on this one. Appreciated.

The much maligned greys are often cited as plague ridden rats with bushy tails, yet there is an alternative point of view. The greys in my garden are forever damaging stuff, like the grass, plants and bird feeders but they still bring a good deal of pleasure. I like to see them balancing on the fence or stretching from a twig to get at the bird seed. They communicate with their tails and seem to be quite clever, especially when it comes to problem solving. So if we cite disease as a reason for their extermination we risk losing a fun part of the experience. Birds, after all, also carry diseases that are risky if transmitted to humans and I love to see the birds at the feeders. That's about it, really.

The anapest could be changed to an iamb, you're quite right, so I will give it some consideration. Good nudge.

Thanks again

Best

JJ
ray miller wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:27 am
Lovely rhyme and rhythm. A few things - litter the beds like stubborn weeds. I'd leave out "the", better rhythm. I don't think the penultimate verse adds much.
How could a gardener cite disease
among such acrobats as these,

I don't really understand why he would or would not cite disease because of the squirrels?
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Re: A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revision 2)

Post by ray miller » Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:10 pm

Maybe "against such acrobats as these" then?

They communicate with their tails - beats chasin' 'em.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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JJWilliamson
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Re: A Bit of Fun(ambulism) (revision 2)

Post by JJWilliamson » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:35 pm

Thanks again, Ray
ray miller wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:10 pm
Maybe "against such acrobats as these" then? ...Yes, that works. Consider it changed.

They communicate with their tails - beats chasin' 'em. ...With each other. :)
JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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