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Toumai

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Dinosaur Remains

A fossilized morality tale in seven stanzas of almost Swap Quatrain (Swampy Q's ancestors?).

Revised (19th February) - thanks for all the help: very much appreciated indeed  cloud9.gif

These bones are old, my father said,
'fore mankind rose they were long dead,
their bodies fossilized and cold,
my father said, these bones are old.

We scavenged on that rocky shore
for signs of ancient beasts of yore;
winter's stormy seas had ravaged,
on that rocky shore we scavenged.

A fossil band brought into light:
some belemnites – an ammonite;
sharp shark's tooth sits on softest sand,
brought into light: a fossil band.

Head down, eyes search for any sign,
oblivious to views divine –
sun-splashed surf, the perfect town –
eyes search for any sign: head down.

My back is sore: I stop to rest
and glance up at the cliff-top crest –
a prancing, dancing dinosaur!
I've stopped to rest, my back is sore.

He's gone before I make a sound,
drag others’ gaze from fossil ground
“Yeah, pull the other one!” They yawn.
Before I make a sound, he's gone.

A fossil brain with head in sand
Look up for once and understand,
sometimes glimpse another plane -
with head in sand - a fossil brain.



Original

“These bones are old,” my Father said,
“long ere mankind rose they were dead:
“their bodies fossilized and cold.”
my father said, “These bones are old.”

We scavenged on the rocky shore
for signs of ancient beasts of yore.
Winter’s storms the cliffs had ravaged:
on the rocky shore we scavenged.

Fossil band brought into light:
some belamnites – an ammonite;
sharks tooth sharp sits on soft sand.
Brought into light: a fossil band.

Head down, eyes search for any sign
oblivious to view devine –
sun-splashed surf, the perfect town –
eyes search for any sign: head down.

My back was sore: I stopped to rest
glancing at the clifftop crest –
there was a prancing dinosaur –
I'd stopped to rest (my back was sore).

He was gone ere I made a sound,
dragging others’ gaze from fossil ground
“Yeah, pull the other one!” They yawn.
Ere I made a sound, he was gone.

Keep your head down but look up too;
check on progress, take in the view;
get more from looking all around:
forget to keep head always down.


© Toumai
February, 2005

We went fossil hunting near Lyme Regis (Dorset coast) in the half term holiday and the beach was full of fossil hunting families - and they were all heads down, working hard: there could have been a herd of dinosaurs grazing - or dancing - on the cliff-tops and no one would have noticed. Made me think of how tied up in the unimportant details of life we can become so we miss out of the bigger picture.




Dear Fran,

This is light and delighful, and the tale you tell is indeed very moral.

May I polish a little to bring out the fine facets of this gem ?

“These bones are old,” my Father said, -- no cap F
“long ere mankind rose they were dead: -- 'fore mankind rose they were long dead - better ba-dums ?
“their bodies fossilized and cold.”
my father said, “These bones are old.”

We scavenged on the rocky shore -- There we sc.. on rocky shore ?
for signs of ancient beasts of yore.* comma
Winter’s storms the cliffs had ravaged: -- where winter's storms cliffs had ravaged
on the rocky shore we scavenged. --on rocky shore there we sc ... ?

Fossil band brought into light: -- A fossil band ... ?
some belamnites – an ammonite;
sharks tooth sharp sits on soft sand. -- sharp shark's tooth sits on softish sand?
Brought into light: a fossil band.

Head down, eyes search for any sign
oblivious to view devine – -- viewS ? there are at least 2 !
sun-splashed surf, the perfect town –
eyes search for any sign: head down.

My back was sore: I stopped to rest
glancing at the clifftop crest – -- and glanced up at the ... ?
there was a prancing dinosaur –
I'd stopped to rest (my back was sore).

He was gone ere I made a sound, -- He'd gone before I make a .. ?
dragging others’ gaze from fossil ground -- dragged ?
“Yeah, pull the other one!” They yawn.
Ere I made a sound, he was gone. -- Before I make a sound, ... ?

Keep your head down but look up too;
check on progress, take in the view;
get more from looking all around:
forget to keep head always down.

Fran, I see what you are saying in this "moral of story" verse, but feel it is not sharp enough. Feel it needs a re-write, this is just a quick atempt, so perhaps you can re-state in a way to suit you :

Working head down, you ... look up too,
check your progress, take all the view :
in context from looking all around,
you look up too, working ... head down.

As always, feel free to toss my offerings aside along with the scraped sand, or, as they say, pick the bones out of that !

I really like this - a deep lesson very lightly taught, which is really the only way anyone was ever able to learn anything ! Well done !



Here is the whole without edit marks, for you to see more easily :

“These bones are old,” my father said,
'fore mankind rose they were long dead
their bodies fossilized and cold.”
my father said, “These bones are old.”

There we scavenged on rocky shore
for signs of ancient beasts of yore,
where winter’s storms cliffs had ravaged:
on rocky shore there we scavenged.

A fossil band brought into light:
some belamnites – an ammonite;
sharp shark's tooth sits on softish sand,
brought into light: a fossil band.

Head down, eyes search for any sign
oblivious to views devine –
sun-splashed surf, the perfect town –
eyes search for any sign, head down.

My back was sore: I stopped to rest
and glanced up at the clifftop crest –
there was a prancing dinosaur !
I'd stopped to rest (my back was sore).

He'd gone before I made a sound,
dragged others’ gaze from fossil ground
“Yeah, pull the other one!” They yawn.
Before I made a sound, he'd gone.

Working head down, you must look up too,
check your progress, take all the view :
in context from looking all around,
you must look up too, working head down.

Love
Alan
Dear Fran,

as a PS - I just got the very witty title. Love it !

Love
Alan
Arnfinn
Hi,

Well it all rhymes and is in the true form. gandalfg.gif A very descriptive tale. True to your revelation of the incentive that put pen to paper. (or key to monitor). Has a nice flow, the only little bump I found was--




We scavenged on the rocky shore
for signs of ancient beasts of yore.
Winter’s storms the cliffs had ravaged:
on the rocky shore we scavenged.  :wave:  :wave:

Though a very good digging day was had by all.


Regards,

Arnie troy.gif  :troy:
Toumai
Dear Alan,

Many thanks for your early morning enthusiasm and crit. This is the first time I have tried to combine a strict meter and rhyme (other than a couple of limmericks).

You suggestions are great for the ba-DUMs and improve the whole immensely - I will be back later to post a revision.

Fran, I see what you are saying in this "moral of story" verse, but feel it is not sharp enough

You are far too courteous regarding that last verse, which is dire - more soup than sharp. But I've just had a little idea concerning heads in the sand, so a rewrite is imminant.

Love,

Fran
Toumai
Hi Arnie,

Good to see you and thanks for your comments.

You are right that the half-rhyme is perhaps a fault - but I do rather like it ... although 'challenged' might work.

I will think on't as I skip down to do the shopping thru the snow.

Cheers,

Fran
Dear Fran,

"heads in the sand" -- oooooooooooh, I can hardly wait !

Btw, I like soup ....

Love
Alan
Jox
>>A fossilized morality tale in seven stanzas of almost Swap Quatrain (Swampy Q's ancestors?).

Swampy Q is de-lighted. He sends his best regards and commends this poem to the deep. (That means he thinks it is great - he’ll be able to keep reading it down there. Thank you very much, Fran.

I'm delighted, too. Finally, someone can see the prancing creatures, which I havs seen all these years. I knew they were there! This is great stuff - thoroughly enjoyed it, thank you, Fran.

James.

As always, suggestions: {omit}[add](comments)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Verse 1:

“These bones are old,” my Father said,
“long {ere} [before] mankind[,] {rose} they were dead{:}[;]
“their bodies fossilized and cold.” (Change order and added a phrase.)
my {father} [Father] said, “These bones are old.”

(I had to go searching dictionaries for “ere” - old English or literary usage... but not as old as this era! I can see it fits the pattern but it does grate with me. It’s the one point in the poem I keep coming back to - which is a shame. A little like a spot on an, otherwise, unblemished face).

(I tend not to use quotation marks in poems, unless two people are speaking and confusion would exist. However, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with them - but may not be needed).

Suggestion for Verse 1:

These bones are old, my Father said,
long before man, they were dead;
their fossilised bodies, cold as stone.
my Father said, “These bones are old.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Verse 2:

We scavenged on the rocky shore
for signs of ancient beasts of yore.
Winter’s storms[,] the cliffs had ravaged:

(that suggestes that the cliffs had attacked the storms)
(Aphostrophe in wrong place - more than one winter storm)
(What about spalled, rather than ravaged - seems somewhat out of place).

on the rocky shore[,] we scavenged.

(The last line is a little flat compared to the rest... but being a SQ you are limited: so maybe something like...

We scavenged on {the} [that] rocky shore
on {the} [that] rocky shore we scavenged.

(However, I think there may well be better solutions than this - I’ll think and maybe others will help, too).

Suggestion for Verse 2:

We scavenged on that rocky shore
for signs of ancient beasts of yore.
Winters' storms, spalled the cliffs,
on that rocky shore, we scavenged.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Verse 3:

Fossil band brought into light:
some {belamnites} [belemnites]– an ammonite; (I checked the spelling with the BBC)
shark[']s tooth sharp sits on soft sand.
Brought into light: a fossil band.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Verse 4:

Head down, eyes search for any sign[,]
oblivious to view {devine}  [divine] –  (Cambridge Dictionary checked)
sun-splashed surf, the perfect town –
eyes search for any sign: head down.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Verse 5:

My back was sore[:]{-} I stopped to rest[,]
(The colon / semi-c may be right technically but causes too long a-pause).
glancing at {the}[high] clifftop crest –
there was a prancing dinosaur –

(I think you need some more amazement here...)

glancing at high clifftop crest -
wow, a prancing, dancing dinosaur -

(Just a quick suggestion and I can’t say it’s ideal - but need something to lift it above the mundane).

I'd stopped to rest (my back was sore).

(Don’t need the brackets - Swap Qs create that effect all the time.

Suggestions for Verse 5:

My back was sore - I stopped to rest,
glancing at the clifftop crest –
Wow! A prancing, dancing dinosaur –
I'd stopped to rest, my back was sore.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Verse 6:

He was gone ere I made a sound,
dragging others’ gaze from fossil ground
“Yeah, pull the other one!” They yawn.
Ere I made a sound, he was gone.

(That ere again... two instances of it - any chance of booting it out?)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Verse 7:

Keep your head down {but} [-] look up too;
check {on} progress{,}[;] {take in}  [survey / consider / see all / ] the view;
{get more from} [appreciate] looking all around:

(Don’t use “get” - in any writing. Dreadful word.)

forget to keep head always down.

(Of course, as you know from your comments, this last verse breaks the SQ. I’m easy with that: forms are there to be broken as far as I can see. However, if you wish to stay in form, how about:

Suggestions for Verse 7:

Not just head down - look up too;
check progress; survey the view.
Appreciate looking all around:
Look up too - not just head down.

(I think that could be improved further, too but it seems to be on the right track).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Nina
Hi Fran

I enjoyed your hunt for dinosaurs along the sea shore.  I found this poem very interesting as I have never read a Swap Quatrain before  but I did like this one.
Did you find any fossils on your beach walk?  Or just a prancing dinosaur?

Like James and Alan I think before works better than 'ere because 'ere is too old a word.

Just a couple of thoughts for you to take or ignore

We scavenged on the rocky shorethat
for signs of ancient beasts of yore.
Winter’s storms the cliffs had ravaged:[/b] Winter storms, the cliffs were ravaged
on the rocky shore we scavenged.that

so it reads

We scavenged on that rocky shore
for signs of ancient beast of yore.
Winter storms, the cliffs were ravaged:
on that rocky shore we scavenged.

Thanks for the read

Nina
Jox
Hi Fran, Nina...

Nina,

Lori invented the Swap Q and posted it first on MM about a year ago.


Genesis of Swap Q


Here are many Swap Q poems by members

(My reference to Swampy Q is because I wrote about a living fossil called "Swampy Q" - my embodiment of Lori's Swap Q. The poem is in there somewhere, with the rest).

I hope you enjoy them and why not try one?

James.
Nina
Thanks James

I will take a stroll to those links and have a read

Nina
Toumai
Hi Nina,

Thanks for the help. As (the other) Arnie says: 'I'll be back.'

Fran
Toumai
Hi James,

Ere I depart (to make fruit salad for my lunch guests) I must thank you warmly for your suggestions.

I will have a great deal to work with when I return to revise (hopefully tonight).

And many thanks for posting those links, too.

Fran
Toumai
Hi everyone,

I have just been thru all the incredibly helpful suggestions made earlier and incorporated quiet a few and a few changes of my own, too - the last verse has been completely changed.

The whole story feels musch smoother now - thanks.  :cloud9:

Fran
Nina
Hi Fran

The last stanza is now brilliant.  I love the idea of fossil brain.  Just one typo in the third stanza  L3, it should be sharp  

Nina
Toumai
Nina,

Thank you so much. I'm pleased you like the new final stanza. And I've fixed that typo.

Fran
Cybele
Hi Fran,  :dance:

Ah, memories, memories!!  :cloud9:

I have spent many happy hours on this self-same beach at Lyme Regis poodling around turning over rocks in the scree at the base of Church Cliffs.  :cloud9:

Can't do it now ~ all that bending over plays havoc with aged bones. I might expire there and become part of the fossils in 50 million years if no one notices the remains! rofl.gif

You have plenty of people offering crits here, so I am just writing to say how very much I enjoyed this. Thank you Fran.  :cheer:
jayjay
Read this this morning and hadn't a clue how to advise you on improvements, Fran.  I knew it required something but as it's the first of these I've seen I was unsure of what it WAS let alone how I might assist.

Suffice to say it jigs along marvellously, is witty and fresh and now says what you intended in a delightful way.  Well thought out and worked.

JJ
Jox
Hi Fran, Grace...

"Poodling around" - that's a new one. In that case, I'll be Settering around. Heaven help those people with Shih-Tzus!

James :)
Jox
Hi Fran,

'tis lookin' reet bonnie, nah lassie. Well done. Marc Bolan couldn't have written better!

(Great final verse, by the way).

James.
Toumai
Hi Grace,

We were actually starting from Charmouth that day. It was cold, it was muddy but we had a super time - and a nice pub lunch in the village with a family game of 'I-Spy' while we waited for our grub.

Thanks for dropping by and enjoying - and I cartainly have had plenty of help (and it was certainly needed, lol).

Fran
Toumai
Hi James,

"Poodling around" - that's a new one. In that case, I'll be Settering around. Heaven help those people with Shih-Tzus!

rofl.gif

Marc who? Must be before my time (she say, lying thru her teeth - T rexes were too cool to dance - and they were carnivorous so no grass, either).

Cheers, lad - and thanks for all the help.  :pharoah2

Fran
Toumai
Hi JJ,

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm glad you think the early crits have pulled it together.

it jigs along marvellously

Just like a dancing dinosaur?  upside.gif  

Fran
jayjay
Hi Fran, I hadn't a clue was an SQ was but James's helpful expanation took care of that.

This is bright, lively and leaves a thoughtful aftertaste.  A case of not seeing the wood for the trees.  As Wordsworth put it - The world is too much with us, and this delightful piece emphasises that in an elegant and eloquent manner.

I don't think I'll be delving into SQ ( sounds almost indecent) but I am glad you did, and that we have this little fossil(in the nicest possible way) to remind us.

JJ
Toumai
Hi again JJ,

There are some amazing threads lurking in the depths here on MM - but more lively than any fossils. Karnak is a mine of interesting forms and wonderful creations.

I don't think I'll be delving into SQ ( sounds almost indecent)

Inspiration in that line, my friend! Thank you, for the ideas now fermenting ...

Fran  :yoda:
jayjay
Fran.  Now I know senility is upon me.  I thought I had replied to this and when I looked I couldn't see my post; so I posted again, before I realised there were two pages.  Excuse my decrepitude and in future I will check the page numbers.  I will have a look at the other forum you mention.

JJ
Toumai
JJ, please don't fret or blame your mind or we'll all have to admit to the occasional 'senior moment'.  :gandalfg:

I've done the same thing on a couple of occasions (only once on MM - and I noticed and deleted before anyone else saw it, lol).

Anyway, now I see you've been exploring Karnak and finding interesting things in there.  :pharoah2

Fran
Cleo_Serapis
Hello Fran and thanks for your Swap Quatrain!  :cheer:

This was a fun one to read (and educational too)!  :dance:

My only nit:

A fossil brain has head in sand
Look up for once and understand,
sometimes glimpse another plane -
a head in sand has fossil brain.

You could change last line to read:
has head in sand - a fossil brain.

I enjoyed this one!
Toumai
Thanks for critting, Cleo.

I'm glad I hadn't strayed too far from the form.

I think "with" might sound better than "has"; then it will end:

with head in sand - a fossil brain

I shall go and revise my revision.

Fran
Cleo_Serapis
CONGRATS Fran on your Wizard Award winning tile! Balloons.gif hsdance.gif

Well done!
Cybele
Hello Fran,  :guitar: PartyFavor.gif Balloons.gif GroupHug.gif

Congratulations on a well deserved award Fran.

From the unclaimed fossil on Lyme beach!  :speechless:
Nina
Hi Fran

Congratulations on winning a wizard award for this piece.

Nina
Jox
Hi Fran,

Well, dinosaurs and wizard - some of my fav critters.

Well done, Fran!
Toumai
Thank you everyone, hope Swampy Q is pleased that his ancestors are wizard.

Dear Grace, What fossil? tch, tch! We shall debate over lunch soon.

Fran
Jox
Fran,

I see Dino-Swampy has now won the Mods' award - well done, well deserved and many congratulations.

First multi-award winning dino in history I would think!

Swampy Q sends all his best and asks if you'd like to join him in a spot of bog-snorkeling?

J.




Toumai
Thanks, James, dino is reet chuffed (and so am I).

Swampy Q sends all his best and asks if you'd like to join him in a spot of bog-snorkeling?

Dino says yes, but I think I'll give a miss this time. LOL.gif

Fran
Nina
Hi Fran

Congratulations on winning the Mods award.  The dinosaur remains champion.

Nina
Cleo_Serapis
Congrats Fran for winning the Mod Choice award for this lovely lovie.gif tile!

I'm so proud of you!

~Cleo :pharoah2
Aggiel
Fran,

Congratulations. It's a great win.

:pharoah2

Aggiel
Toumai
Thank you so much Nina, Cleo and Aggiel,

I am delighted  :sun:

Fran
Cleo_Serapis
Added images for you Fran - lovely!

~Cleo lovie.gif
Toumai
Thank you so much Lori.  cheer.gif

The pictures were taken on the beach at Lyme Regis (southern coast of England) in the half term holiday this autumn (early October?). The youngster in the foreground of the first wearing a hoodie is my 9-year-old son, and the second shows the giant amonites embedded in the rocks rather nicely.

Fran
Jox
Well done Fran...

See they had hoodies even in prehistoric times!

I say ban the shopping centres from imposing on the hoodies' hunting grounds.

Great pix - well done. Great poem, too!

J.
Toumai
Cheers, James

I love beach combing, but we've never found any sharks teeth or dino bones (yet).

Hoodies are fine in the great outdoors (and practical on a chilly beach). Perhaps you are right and the problem is that their natural habitat is under threat from encroaching shopping centres.

Fran




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