by T. A. Fry
Longevity has its place. Though frog choirs
sing this night with same voice as tomorrow.
Their sultry hymns sire, future lost empires;
With promiscuous noblesse of a Pharaoh.
Life cleaves brevity from our hands.
Yet communes with creation’s permanence.
Oh, what wonder beyond all reason stands
Before ordinary joy’s eminence!
Wait. May I speak to my fair Eurydice?
For I feel her presence, too soon bygone.
Her kind speak only through memories
having passed along the dawn’s baton.
I shall follow soon enough through that door.
If breath’s my master, let me be it’s whore.
I enjoy coincidences, or rather the uncoordinated repetition of something that slowly brings that thing from subconsciousness into sharp focus. A couple of weeks ago I had a frog week. I woke up at a remote hotel an hour east of Tampa, Florida and paused for a moment before getting on the elevator before the sun had risen. On the glass on the third floor several large tree frogs had left interesting tracks making their way through the morning dew to where ever it was they planned to spend the day out of the sun.
A couple of hours later I was checking in my rental car at the airport. While grabbing my stuff out of the back seat, a tree frog emerged from a hiding place somewhere on the back of the car and hopped up to greet me with an expression that said; “oh my god, that was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me! Did you see how fast we were going?” The National Rental Car attendant and I looked the little guy up and down and surmised that left to his own devices his chances of making it safely out of the concrete jungle filled with cars was not very good. So I caught the frog, took him over to the grass and trees just outside of the rental car return and wished him good luck.
I shared the pictures and the story about the tree frog having survived an hour long car ride with a friend several days later and on her way to work that afternoon she looks down and discovers in the parking lot of her local drug store a tree frog, a plastic tree frog, that looks exactly like the one I had set free that week. The world is a strange and mysterious place. Maybe it followed me home from Florida.
I wrote this sonnet several years ago, shortly after my Mother died, an attempt to play with ideas around immortality and mortality, in the sense that frogs singing to us today are no different than the chorus sung 10,000 years ago or 100,000 years ago. Time and experience in many ways are not linear, rather more circular, our common experiences rolling on and on, in the circles we make with other people and the universe around us.