Partial Laughing (draft 1)

Partial Laughing

Grad students are known to have wacky research projects
some worth trying, some succeeding, some deadly.
Teaching language is always good.

Teaching mountain Gorillas in the dew
all about guerrilla tactics using
American sign language worked well
except for a primate’s risible plot
to get a seat at the UN, and
oust the poachers

Still, language projects are good.

But the Lions at the zoo
weren’t so amenable to gestures

Their beck was misunderstood by a student
and he got eaten

— Douglas Gilbert

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10 thoughts on “Partial Laughing (draft 1)

  1. I like your risible project, it worked out great! The primate’s risible plot made me giggle. I think I’ve seen a few primate politicians, their plots must’ve been a success. I like the “Teaching language is always good.” and then how you kind of followed up on that thought later in the poem with “Still, language projects are good.” I suppose those grad students with those wacky projects should be a little more careful, especially when dealing with Lions.

    1. Thanks very much. Chatting with you helps me think of things to write.
          Maybe my next step will be to find a synonym for “good”. But anyway, I’m glad I put out the first draft, and anyway it might yet be the final draft. I’ll re-read and see.

  2. Oh, one little suggestion. I think you may have forgotten an ‘n’ at the end of America in American Sign Language, unless you meant for it to read that way and I just didn’t read it right…I don’t know much about sign language but I did find a used sign language dictionary book. I got it for my son because he was really interested in it when they were studying it at school, I thought he might want to continue his learning.

    1. Oh yes, thanks. I don’t know how I missed it. I guess I read for meaning and don’t pay enough attention to spelling and somehow I think something and think it’s on the page but it’s not.
          That’s interesting: I’ve heard that American Sign Language has its own nuances and special flavor and is not a translation of English but a full fledged expression with its own style.

    2. Oh, I guess I could just leave “good” because it rhymes with “stood”. Yeah, I guess vague sometimes is OK. I don’t know, but anyway I’ll save this one.

      1. I do that sometimes too, forget a letter and then spell check doesn’t notice it because it’s technically not misspelled…and then I somehow keep missing it even when I read back-through. That’s neat that sign language has it’s own nuances and so forth…I mean, I guess when I think about it I would expect it to, since it’s not exactly the same as english. I wonder if it’s like that all over the world with different languages and sign languages?
        I think the ‘good’ works, it sounds like something someone would say, a natural way of speaking and gives it a feeling like it was a nod of approval for teaching Lions sign language.

    3. I think I seem to remember that someone said that when you imagine that you’re walking down an aisle and people on both sides are applauding that there is a gesture in sign language for that, but when you imagine standing in front of an audience that the sign for applause is a little different. I think you indicate with your hands where it’s coming from and how extensive it is — I guess sort of like Eskimo “snow” except this is about something warm. Well, maybe I remember it wrong, but I think the deaf person was trying to emphasize the point that it was a separate language and not a word for word copy of English.

      1. That makes sense, that it’s different, not like a word for word copy. I bet there’s all sorts of different gestures. I should go find that book and make it a project to learn a new signing gesture each day. That’s a great example with the applause…It almost seems poetic or romantic in a way. I mean, I’d just be like, ‘yeah, people were clapping’ but they have different gestures to indicate where and how extensive the clapping is…seems detailed in a simply wonderful way. I’m starving, I should probably go start some dinner. Oh, i’m kind of sad…my poor birds are really starving I think. I happened to notice a purple finch that didn’t have eyes, I’m not sure if she was born like that or if it was from an infection getting too bad, but i was like 6 inches from her and she didn’t move, I could see her blinking but there was no eyeballs. So I started watching and noticed some more of the purple finches had eye problems too, like their feathers were stringy looking around the eyes and they were rubbing their faces on the railing of my deck like it itched. So i typed it in to the computer and on this bird website it said thatsome kinds of finches can get a bird conjunctivitis (pink eye). It said to take away all the feeders for a week so the birds could disperse and hopefully heal up and to wash the feeders with bleach water before refilling them and using them again. All week long the birds have been looking for food. I feel bad…but I really don’t want to spread the infection to other healthy birds. Last night I cleaned the feeder and bird bath and I think tomorrow morning I’ll fill everything back up. By then it’ll have been about a week and a half…I’m hoping my poor little birds are feeling better.

    4. A prayer for the finches. That is sad. It seems like such a puzzle that living things, big, small, and as tiny as bacteria and viruses, are always fighting with each other for resources even on the microscopic level. I don’t know — it doesn’t seem like a good design; it does seem like an evolving competition. I wonder why it’s necessary. And from sadness there isn’t always a good result. Some people seem able to overcome, but many don’t. And sometimes sadness get displaced and spreads even apart from the original tragedy. Sometimes people talk about “lessons learned,” but I usually don’t understand it that well.
          So when Horace Greeley, the wise old owl says, “Go West young finch and friends and disperse to the winds of joy or walk through the bushes, follow the guiding chirps of the mystery birds and if you listen to the flap of the Grand Eagle it will comfort you,” they then listen carefully, and they are not afraid.

      1. Thank you. It is like a puzzle, and not a very good design. I wonder why it’s necessary too…I mean I’ve heard that saying that ‘only the strong survive’ but one wouldn’t be as weak without the flaws that sickness brings. This is the first time I’ve ever seen this in my finches so I hope it doesn’t become like a complete, widespread epidemic among all of them. I’m about to go outside and do a little yard work. My son can mow the grass now (I usually mow up close to the flower beds and along the fence line because it’s a little hard for him to maneuver in some areas) but I’ll probably put all the feeders back and fill everything up…it’ll be nice when all my little birds are hopping about at the feeders again. I’ve missed them.
        The Horace Greeley words made me smile, yes…yes, go west young finches and friends! You always make me feel so much happier – even in the midst of finch tragedies. Oh, i thought of a couple lines to begin my just a crumb poem with…

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