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Boy and Squirrel
Juliana Horatia Ewing


Oh boy, down there, I can't believe that what they say is true!
We squirrels surely cannot have an enemy in you;
We have so much in common, my dear friend, it seems to me
That I can really feel for you, and you can feel for me.

Some human beings might not understand the life we lead;
If we asked Dr. Birch to play, no doubt he'd rather read;
He hates all scrambling restlessness, and chattering, scuffling noise;
If he could catch us we should fare no better than you boys.

Fine ladies, too, whose flounces catch and tear on every stump,
What joy have they in jagged pines, who neither skip nor jump?
Miss Mittens never saw my tree-top home--so unlike hers;
What wonder if her only thought of squirrels is of furs?

But you, dear boy, you know so well the bliss of climbing trees,
Of scrambling up and sliding down, and rocking in the breeze,
Of cracking nuts and chewing cones, and keeping cunning hoards,
And all the games and all the sport and fun a wood affords.

It cannot be that you would make a prisoner of me,
Who hate yourself to be cooped up, who love so to be free;
An extra hour indoors, I know, is punishment to you;
You make me twirl a tiny cage? It never can be true!

Yet I've a wary grandfather, whose tail is white as snow.
He thinks he knows a lot of things we young ones do not know;
He says we're safe with Doctor Birch, because he is so blind,
And that Miss Mittens would not hurt a fly, for she is kind.

But you, dear boy, who know my ways, he bids me fly from you,
He says my life and liberty are lost unless I do;
That you, who fear the Doctor's cane, will fling big sticks at me,
And tear me from my forest home, and from my favourite tree.

The more we think of what he says, the more we're sure it's "chaff,"
We sit beneath the shadow of our bushy tails and laugh;
Hey, presto! Friend, come up, and let us hide and seek and play,
If you could spring as well as climb, what fun we'd have to-day!

This poem is in the public domain.



Juliana Horatia Gatty Ewing (1841 - 1885) was an English writer, editor, and artist. Daughter of a preacher and a successful children's book author, she and her siblings were home-schooled and Julie, as she was called, demonstrated a knack for storytelling early on. She lived briefly in Canada after marrying a British officer, and found much inspiration in the people, sights, and adventures she discovered there. Julie wrote primarily for children; her work is noted for its simplicity, detail, and humor. One of her stories, "The Brownies,” inspired the name of the first level of Girl Scouts.




Post New Comment:
Thanks, Jayne, musical muse
Posted 01/07/2020 11:55 AM
Very sweet.
Posted 01/07/2020 11:11 AM
Yes. Finely-crafted poem. I love reading poems like this out loud. This one is wonderful!!!
Posted 01/07/2020 10:40 AM
I love watching squirrels tight rope walk on telephone lines.
Posted 01/07/2020 09:09 AM
michael escoubas:
I admire Juliana's craftsmanship. She's writing a 14-syllable line in near perfect iambic feet with superb end-rhymes that don't seem forced or artificial. Add to that, the total delight of a squirrel narrating and you have something special indeed. I'm taking notes.
Posted 01/07/2020 08:33 AM

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