I am pleased to share a poem from my new book
Let Nothing Be Lost -- available soon!
Frogs, a sort of mascot for my brother
whose friends called him Hoppy.
One of his tree ornaments,
a frog wearing a Santa hat,
hangs on our tree every Christmas,
near the back.
Flat fields of his youth provided
nowhere to hide, the sky was too close;
so he left muddy rivers, farm ponds
and sloughs to become a frog out of water,
exotic desert amphibian, trying to drown
Vietnam nightly at the Green Onion Bar.
He knew frogs, we both did,
from fishing trips with our uncle up north.
After dark, we’d go down to a swamp
and grab them with bare hands,
slam them into a gunnysack to be pike bait
next morning. We got to be good at it.
Once, during frog mating season,
we suffered frog croaks all night long.
What little sleep we managed was full
of dreaming—frog as changeling,
that metamorphosis trick they do, tadpoles
becoming something they’re not, frogs
turning into princes the way young men
turn into soldiers overnight. Making a joke,
he liked to say it was like spliced film footage.
One day he’d been a goof-off student
at Eureka College, next soldier in a jungle
full of Vietcong, quivering so much
it was hard to hold on to his weapon.
Brother, if only we had known the language
of frogs, then maybe you wouldn’t have died
alone and too young. Maybe there was salvation
in those raucous croaks, if only . . .
— previously published, Mercury, 2013—
APPEARANCES COMING UP
"Shaping the Spirit through Poetry"
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe
SOMEWHERE IN IRELAND
|SOMEWHERE IN IRELAND - CD
A recording of the poems of Somewhere In Ireland, read by Linda Whittenberg, is available for purchase or poems can be downloaded at CD Baby.
DYING CAN WAIT
At every turn, roots; minute threads feeding grasses;
tough, hollow straws sucking life into cattails and tules.
At every turn, roots invite the question:
by what are you held and sustained?
Excerpt from the poem "Roots" by Linda Whittenberg