I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

9 May 2008

Celebration of the Green Tree-frog

I'm posting this as a gift to my most devoted reader, Jenny Adamthwaite. Not because it's my most brilliant piece, nor even very recent – but just because she likes frogs!

The small frog squats at night
in the track of the sliding door,
hunched below the level of the glass.
Lamplight turns him brown,
his eyes are amber beads.
He is carved stone
watching the moths.
They flutter above him,
little brown leaves
falling against the flywire
and twirling off.

In daylight the frog is green,
sticky and shiny with big webbed feet,
transparent as a leaf.
On top of the water tank
in the gap between pipe and filter,
just where the rain spills in,
he rests and celebrates.
When storms lash and the pipe gushes,
we hear from his tiny throat
a pulsing, continuous drum-beat
heavy and huge and deep.

19/2/96 - 21/8/00


  1. Thank you! That really made me smile.

    Do you have tree frogs in your part of the world (I actually know little about them in the practical sense - only that I like them and they don't live here!)

  2. We sure do!

    This poem was written at an earlier house we lived in. In this house there is one that likes to spend time in the letterbox and also in the downpipe, and we once rescued some babies from the engine of our car before driving away.

    I am very fond of them too, and glad the cane toads have not eradicated the ones that live with us.

  3. It's amazing how surreal something that must seem perfectly normal for you sounds to me: finding a frog in your letter box! It's like when I saw lemon trees in Italy - it's not like I didn't know they existed, but seeing them was somehow magical because they were so alien to me.

    How did they get on with the cats?!

  4. Oh, we have lemon trees here too. Imported no doubt, but they grow well and bear so much fruit that in season it's hard for people to even give away lemons!

    I once saw my cat Levi lying on the concrete driveway watching a green tree-frog, which was lying there too and keeping absolutely still. Wise frog! I don't know which would have tired first, but I stepped over the frog and scooped up the cat, and then the frog disappeared smartly.

    I've never known them to catch one. They do sometimes get lizards, I'm afraid; bells don't do much good in that case. But no evidence of frogs, I'm very glad to say.