Romeo and Squirrliet

Two squirrels, both alike in dignity,
in the Great Black Swamp, where we lay our scene,
from innate squirr’liness run up two trees
in one synchronic rush ‘cross lawny green.
What antic maze, more mad than mating fit,
posses’t the sciurids wild to wildly roam
through street and yard in simultaneous snit
and so adorn the trees of neighbr’ing homes?
Was it the speeding cyclist drove them mad?
The SUVs that hulked along the curb?
Or bright October air that made them glad
until their squirr’ly brains became disturbed?
Damn if I know. I just pedall’d past
as brace of squirrels stood arbor-bound, aghast.


Actually, I think it was walnut intoxication. All the squirrels in town have been acting crazy lately, and the many black-walnut trees in town have been dropping ripe walnuts for weeks so, on the post-hoc-propter-hoc principle that never fails, I conclude the two things have something to do with each other. But none of that fit the meter. I expect Shakespeare had the same sort of problem.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Romeo and Squirrliet

  1. peadarog says:

    A plague on both your boles!

  2. brownkitty says:

    Maybe if you picked a different play?

    If we rodents have offended,
    Think but this, and all is mended,
    While the walnuts from the trees
    Descend, what we do to please
    Ourselves may appear to be
    Naught but wild insanity.
    Frantic in the threat’ning Fall
    We must play, ere our last call
    Should commence before we’re done
    Having desperate high-speed fun.
    Fleeing from this world of man,
    We must gather all we can
    Of these nuts, our stuff of dreams,
    To hide within them sunlight’s beams
    And sleep in warmth, with tummies full.
    For now, we ripple, flirt, and cull
    The harvest that we are to be
    The losers die. The rest… we’ll see.

    • csecooney says:

      Both of these? Just set my morning right. There was nothing wrong with it to begin with, but now I’ve been canted toward bliss. And NOTHING in the universe can break me today.

      • JE says:

        Thanks! And Friday is a good day to be unbreakable on.

        • csecooney says:

          As opposed, of course, to Tuesdays – when everything is brittle! Onward I go, contemplating iambic pentameter and if I’ll ever be brave enough to attempt it. I did something in iambic tetrameter once, but it took HOURS!

          • JE says:

            The world will end on a Tuesday. “Tuesday” and “twenty-twelve” both begin with a “t”–what more proof can a reasonable mind require?

            I think that trochaic tetrameter fits English speech rhythms better than iambic pentameter–which is one reason why ‘s spoof reads better than mine… the other being she’s a better poet.

            Nowadays when I write verse (which isn’t often) I tend to use alliterative meter, like Beowulf or Piers Plowman. And then people say, “Why doesn’t it rhyme?” And I go back to writing the sword-and-sorcery.

          • csecooney says:

            The alliteration-as-proof works for me! No one could call ME unreasonable. (If by no one, you mean most of my wide circle of friends and family…)

            As for poems that don’t rhyme… and BEOWULF… All I have to say is this:


            (I’ve said it all before.)

            If you DO write mighty and fantastic poetry, you should SUBMIT IT to GOBLIN FRUIT! They will never ask why it doesn’t rhyme. And many of their poets end up with Rhysling Nominations. And then their editor wins them.

            And as for this: “And I go back to writing the sword-and-sorcery…” I can only be glad. Because you’re VERY GOOD at that, James!

            A few more paychecks and _This Crooked Way_ will be MINE!!!

          • JE says:

            I like your “Beowulf” poem. My own poetry is pretty infrequent and unfantastic these days, but it’s nice to know there’s a potential outlet if my Muse ever drags me in that direction.

    • JE says:

      “If we rodents have offended,
      Think but this, and all is mended…”

      I like the Puckish version! The Squirrliet version started running through my mind as I saw them do their synchronized-squirreling thing, and I found I had to finish when I got home.

Comments are closed.