Brood Parasites (revision 3)

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capricorn
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Brood Parasites (revision 3)

Post by capricorn » Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:03 pm

Brood Parasite (rev 3)

From ivied stage a robin serenades
while in the meadow grass his broody hen
hops among the boulders and invades
a crevice, moulding lichen for a den

to lay her brood. A cuckoo’s nearby call
provokes the bubbling chuckles of his mate;
she spies the nest concealed within the wall
and sneaks her egg inside to incubate.

The chick emerges, fluttering to prise
all rightful babies out. Instinctively,
it simulates their empty bellied cries.
Poor surrogate is hoodwinked by its pleas

and forages for worms to satisfy
that constant gaping beak. Thriving it grows
to thrice her size, extending wings to fly.
And when the fledgling leaves the nest it crows

cu coo cu coo cu coo

----------------------------------------------------------
Brood Parasites (rev 2)

From ivied stage a robin serenades,
while in the meadow grass his broody hen
hops among the boulders and invades
a crevice, moulding lichen for a den

to lay her brood. Close by a cuckoo’s call
provokes the bubbling chuckles of his mate;
she spies the nest concealed within the wall
and sneaks her egg inside to incubate.

The unrelated chick spread-wings to prise
all rightful babies out, instinctively
it simulates those empty bellied cries.
The surrogate is hoodwinked by its pleas.

Collecting worms provides a daily feast,
feeding the interloper so it grows
to twice its foster parents’ size, at least.
And when the fledgling leaves the nest it crows

cu coo cu coo cu coo


----------------------------------------------
Brood Parasites (revision 1)

From ivied stage a robin serenades.
Nearby in meadow grass his broody hen
is pecking round some boulders, to invade
a crevice, moulding lichen for a den

to lay her brood. Close by a cuckoo’s call
provokes the bubbling chuckles of his mate,
who spies the nest concealed within the wall
and dumps her eggs inside to incubate.

When unrelated chicks emerge, they prise
the rightful babies out, then reproduce,
instinctively, their empty-bellied cries.
Poor surrogate is hoodwinked and obtuse

to all their tricks, sustaining them with ants
and any insects that she can unearth.
Departing from their host the fledglings chant
cu coo, conspicuously now thrice her girth.

In Fall, freeloaders leave to warmer climes
re-joining redbreasts at their nesting time.

------------------------------------------
Brood Parasites

In meadow grass, a robin serenades
on ivied stones. Beside this stage his hen
investigates some boulders, then invades
a crevice, moulding lichen for a den

to lay her brood. Nearby a cuckoo’s call
evokes the bubbling chuckles of his mate,
who spies the nest ensconced within the wall
and parks her eggs inside to incubate.

The unrelated chicks emerge and prise
the rightful babies from their cradle, feign
instinctively, their empty-bellied cries.
Dim surrogate is hoodwinked to sustain

those parasitic tricksters, picking ants
and worms from farmer’s fertile shovelled earth.
Departing from their host the fledglings chant
cu coo, perceptibly now thrice her girth.

When sun diminishes, freeloaders crowd
to far-flung lands enticed by warmer climes,
returning when the ground is freshly ploughed
as redbreasts gather moss at nesting times.
Last edited by capricorn on Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Brood Parasites

Post by Poet » Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:03 am

capricorn wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:03 pm
Brood Parasites

In meadow grass, a robin serenades
on ivied stones. Beside this stage his hen
investigates some boulders, then invades
a crevice, moulding lichen for a den

to lay her brood. Nearby a cuckoo’s call
evokes the bubbling chuckles of his mate,
who spies the nest ensconced within the wall
and parks her eggs inside to incubate.

The unrelated chicks emerge and prise
the rightful babies from their cradle, feign
instinctively, their empty-bellied cries.
Dim surrogate is hoodwinked to sustain

those parasitic tricksters, picking ants
and worms from farmer’s fertile shovelled earth.
Departing from their host the fledglings chant
cu coo, perceptibly now thrice her girth.

When sun diminishes, freeloaders crowd
to far-flung lands enticed by warmer climes,
returning when the ground is freshly ploughed
as redbreasts gather moss at nesting times.
Good stuff! I don't see anything wrong with it, you are lucky Capricorn!

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Re: Brood Parasites

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:11 pm

.
Hi Eira,
loads to like, but maybe some specific words could be improved. The most problematic for me is 'feign'

Just to mess up your end rhymes :)

In meadow grass, on ivied stones, a robin
serenades. Beside this stage his broody hen
beady-eyes some boulders, then invades
a crevice, moulding lichen for a den

to lay her brood. A cuckoo’s call, nearby,
provokes the bubbling chuckles of his mate,
who spies the nest ensconced within the wall
and parks her eggs inside to incubate.


S1 - 'investigate' is a bit of a sore thumb, I think?
spelling - boulders.

S2 - got to be something better than 'parks', surely :) And 'ensconced' seems a bit much.

S3 - is it 'chicks' plural? 'Dim' feels unnecessarily judgemental

S4 - Don't think you need 'farmer's' (and wouldn't a famrer 'plough' the earth?)
or to repeat 'from' in the next line. Works without it.
Be nice if the cu coos could 'crow' when leaving :)
'visibly' for 'perceptibly' I think.

S5 - falls at the final hurdle for me. Maybe just make a couplet of the last two lines?


Regards, Not


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Re: Brood Parasites

Post by capricorn » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:06 pm

Poet wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:03 am
Good stuff! I don't see anything wrong with it, you are lucky Capricorn!
You are too kind Poet. I'm sure others will find something. :D

Eira

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Re: Brood Parasites (revision 1)

Post by capricorn » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:11 pm

Hi Not,

I've taken on board most of your suggestions and revised.

Eira

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Re: Brood Parasites (revision 1)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:33 pm

capricorn wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:06 pm
I'm sure others will find something. :D
You're playing my song.


Hi Eira,
there's such a strong piece here, but it does seem a bit hamstrung by the form.

a robin serenades From ivied stage.
in meadow grass Nearby his broody hen
is pecking round some boulders, to invade

- boulders, to invade - seems a really big jump
a crevice, moulding lichen for a den
- purely an ornithological question: how big
was the crevice that the cuckoo (three times
their size) could then get out of the nest?

to lay her brood. Close by a cuckoo’s call
provokes the bubbling chuckles of his mate,
who spies the nest concealed within the wall

- maybe 'she' for 'who'
and dumps her eggs inside to incubate.
- 'steals' (as in sneaks) for 'dumps'?
(Should it be 'egg' singular?)

When unrelated chicks emerge, they prise
- I think you could use 'brood parasites' here,
rather than 'unrelated chicks'.
(And when brood parasites emerge ...)
the rightful babies out, then and reproduce,
instinctively, their empty-bellied cries.

- reproduce, instinctively - is the weak link here,
I think. Wondered about something like
and reproduce / faithfully their ...
or
and reproduce / a nest-full of empty-bellied cries ?
Poor surrogate is hoodwinked and obtuse
- this still seems rather unfair. Granted they are
'hoodwinked' but isn't their 'obtuseness' a mirror
image of the 'instinct' of the cuckoo's cry reproduction?

to all their tricks, sustaining them with ants
and any insects that she can unearth.

- ants / and any insects is poor, and clearly
rhyme driven. Come on! :)
Departing from their host the fledglings chant
- Maybe something like
Emptying the nest the fledglings ... ?
cu coo, conspicuously now thrice her girth.
- I'm not sure what 'thrice her girth' adds,
you've already had her 'hoodwinked and obtuse'.

In Fall, freeloaders leave to warmer climes
re-joining redbreasts at their nesting time.

- don't think you've got the ending yet, but
this is an improvement.

Just a 'something to think about' rather than a suggestion ...

When unrelated chicks emerge, they prise
the rightful babies out instinctively
and reproduce their empty-bellied cries.
Evolutionarily

these surrogates are sluggards, not yet wise
and feeding though the interloper grows
to more than three times its parents size
Leaving the nest, at last, the fledgling crows

cu coo, cu coo, cu coo


Regards, Not


.

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Re: Brood Parasites (revision 1)

Post by capricorn » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:23 am

NotQuiteSure wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:33 pm
Hi Eira,
there's such a strong piece here, but it does seem a bit hamstrung by the form.

Hi Not - I'm back!
Yes, writing in form has its problems, but sometimes I like the challenge :D I'll continue with this - but may try it another time in FV.


a robin serenades From ivied stage.
in meadow grass Nearby his broody hen
is pecking round some boulders, to invade

- boulders, to invade - seems a really big jump
a crevice, moulding lichen for a den
- purely an ornithological question: how big
was the crevice that the cuckoo (three times
their size) could then get out of the nest?

to lay her brood. Close by a cuckoo’s call
provokes the bubbling chuckles of his mate,
who spies the nest concealed within the wall

- maybe 'she' for 'who'
and dumps her eggs inside to incubate.
- 'steals' (as in sneaks) for 'dumps'?
(Should it be 'egg' singular?)

When unrelated chicks emerge, they prise
- I think you could use 'brood parasites' here,
rather than 'unrelated chicks'.
(And when brood parasites emerge ...)
the rightful babies out, then and reproduce,
instinctively, their empty-bellied cries.

- reproduce, instinctively - is the weak link here,
I think. Wondered about something like
and reproduce / faithfully their ...
or
and reproduce / a nest-full of empty-bellied cries ?
Poor surrogate is hoodwinked and obtuse
- this still seems rather unfair. Granted they are
'hoodwinked' but isn't their 'obtuseness' a mirror
image of the 'instinct' of the cuckoo's cry reproduction?

to all their tricks, sustaining them with ants
and any insects that she can unearth.

- ants / and any insects is poor, and clearly
rhyme driven. Come on! :)
Departing from their host the fledglings chant
- Maybe something like
Emptying the nest the fledglings ... ?
cu coo, conspicuously now thrice her girth.
- I'm not sure what 'thrice her girth' adds,
you've already had her 'hoodwinked and obtuse'.

In Fall, freeloaders leave to warmer climes
re-joining redbreasts at their nesting time.

- don't think you've got the ending yet, but
this is an improvement.
Yes, I don't really like the ending here and have in part used your suggestion below
Just a 'something to think about' rather than a suggestion ...

When unrelated chicks emerge, they prise
the rightful babies out instinctively
and reproduce their empty-bellied cries.
Evolutionarily

these surrogates are sluggards, not yet wise
and feeding though the interloper grows
to more than three times its parents size
Leaving the nest, at last, the fledgling crows

cu coo, cu coo, cu coo
I liked the idea of ending here and have used in my revision

Thanks Not
Eira


Regards, Not


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Re: Brood Parasites (revision 2)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:26 pm

capricorn wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:23 am
Hi Not - I'm back!
And welcome you are too, your absence had been noted and I was beginning to wonder if you were self-isolating virtually. Hope you and yours are well.

I think you've moved the piece on a pace or two with the revision. The opening sentence (smoothly running from the first to second verse) is particularly pleasing (though I'm not sure you need that comma after 'serenades', the enjambment will force a pause I think). If you can figure out how to repeat the trick going from S3 to S4 I think it would life the piece.

I know what you're saying (S3) with 'chick spread-wings to prise / all rightful babies' but the phrasing is rather ugly, and 'daily feast' in S4 seems rhyme driven. Still work to do here I think, but cutting that final couplet works very well.


Regards, Not

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Re: Brood Parasites (revision 2)

Post by David » Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:15 pm

It's all very 18th century, isn't it? Which is fine, if that's what you want. For me, it's my least favourite poetical century. Apart from Gray's Elegy, which is terrific, and the blessed relief of Blake towards its end, I'm not a big fan.

But clearly it is what you want, and metrically - if very over-iambically - it works. It would be nice if you could vary the rhythms a bit, to relieve the metric monotony.

And, yes, this is what cuckoos do, but that's all it is. It's a straightforward natural-historical description of something we all know. I think you need something else, some twist or take on the story, some turn of wit, some application of the cuckoo's tale in another context, to enliven it.

But you may disagree.

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Re: Brood Parasites (revision 2)

Post by TrevorConway » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:10 pm

Hi Capricorn,

I quite liked this, though I do agree with David that the rhythm could be improved, and while it's fair enough to simply describe something as it is, his suggestion of adding details beyond what we all know of the cuckoo does seem like sound advice if you can add some details particular to this poem/this bird.

I've added some notes below. Hope they're helpful.

Thanks for sharing,

Trev


Brood Parasites (rev 2)

From ivied stage a robin serenades, ["ivied stage" feels a bit obvious/familiar, ad "serenades" is fairly obvious - any alternatives that'd do?]
while in the meadow grass his broody hen [delete grass"?]
hops among the boulders and invades
a crevice, moulding lichen for a den [I like this idea/imagery. I'd say you just about get away with "den", but would something like this work instead: "a crevice, moulding moss and lichen"? Or even "welding" instead of "moulding" - more visually arresting/image-inducing, though I do like moulding as well]

to lay her brood. Close by a cuckoo’s call [Maybe "...brood, while a nearby cuckoo's call" would have less jarring rhythm?]
provokes the bubbling chuckles of his mate; [Not mad on "bubbling chuckles". Maybe something along the lines of drawing her attention to the nest would fit better?]
she spies the nest concealed within the wall
and sneaks her egg inside to incubate. ["to incubate" feel tacked on purely for the sake of rhyme. Is there anything that'd fit better? Other potential rhymes: "fate", "weight", "wait", "innate"]

[I think some reference to time passing, or another verse, is needed before progressing to a chick that has already hatched]

The unrelated chick spread-wings to prise
all rightful babies out, instinctively [I like these 2 lines, but maybe a semicolon or full stop before "instinctively"?]
it simulates those empty bellied cries. [Maybe "their" instead of "those", referring to the same cries as those of the robin chicks?]
The surrogate is hoodwinked by its pleas. [I think this line is probably the weakest of the poem. It lets it down, as the standard is a lot higher elsewhere]

Collecting worms provides a daily feast, [This could be more vivid, e.g. "Soiled-ripped worms presented like a feast, / the interloper inevitably grows / to twice..."]
feeding the interloper so it grows
to twice its foster parents’ size, at least.
And when the fledgling leaves the nest it crows [Also a weak line/ending, I think. Is there any other idea that could provide a stronger finish, such as the idea that it will ever meet its actual parents? Or, to keep the rhyme with "grows" to some degree, the idea that it gets away "unexposed"?]

cu coo cu coo cu coo [No need for this, I think]

I like the title, but maybe parasite, not parasites, considering only one cuckoo chick is mentioned?

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Re: Brood Parasites (revision 2)

Post by capricorn » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:39 pm

NotQuiteSure wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:26 pm
capricorn wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:23 am
Hi Not - I'm back!
And welcome you are too, your absence had been noted and I was beginning to wonder if you were self-isolating virtually. Hope you and yours are well.

Back again, Not and thanks for the warm welcome. :D It's a good thing that we cannot catch CV virtually :mrgreen: We are isolating at the moment, being the wrong side of 70 and Jason (autistic son) is in lockdown in his home, possibly until mid July. :cry: Such shocking times.

I think you've moved the piece on a pace or two with the revision. The opening sentence (smoothly running from the first to second verse) is particularly pleasing (though I'm not sure you need that comma after 'serenades', the enjambment will force a pause I think). If you can figure out how to repeat the trick going from S3 to S4 I think it would life the piece.

Glad to hear this is improved

I know what you're saying (S3) with 'chick spread-wings to prise / all rightful babies' but the phrasing is rather ugly, and 'daily feast' in S4 seems rhyme driven. Still work to do here I think, but cutting that final couplet works very well.

Have to agree with you here, I have rewritten and hope it reads smoother.

It's late now but I must come and comment on others work soon.
Thanks again

Eira

Regards, Not

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Re: Brood Parasites (revision 3)

Post by capricorn » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:47 pm

Hi David & Trevor,

Thanks for commenting on this. I wrote revision 3 before I read your suggestions which I will digest tomorrow.

Eira

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Re: Brood Parasites (revision 3)

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:15 am

Hi, Eira

Tight iambic pentameter all the way through with some super rhymes.

I enjoyed the form and theme very much but tend to agree about the predictability of events.
I was expecting something new to emerge, like an influencing revelation or comparison to humanity, you know,
something unexpected or revealing. I wondered, at first, if I was reading an expended metaphor, only to find
the familiar close. There's nothing wrong btw, I was simply looking for more.

That said, anything to do with birds is right up my street. :)

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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