Hip hop before hip hop

November 22, 2011

Australia’s loss of frog species is, I believe, the worst in the world.  We have lost the gastric brooding frog.  The corroboree frog, a species that lives in the few really cold parts of the country, is the subject of directed conservation efforts, yet one wonders how it will cope with climate change.  Here is a flyer (hopper?) for a US frog poetry competition, because the problem isn’t confined to Australia. Click to enlarge.  Here’s their web-site. I have no connection with this group, but it seems like a good way of  encouraging people to think about conservation; I’m putting the poster up at my daughter’s school.

Following below is a poem about a wonderful night when I saw a road covered with frogs in a jumping carpet.  It is biologically inaccurate, but I tried to capture the sense of wonder that came with what seemed like a million frogs.  I wonder how long we will continue to see this type of natural phenomenon?

Frogs at Durras

We bought a house, feeble fibro shack,

walls thin as a yacht’s, teetering near the sea.

The second time we drove there, slowly,

tentatively, nosing towards ownership,

a rough jagged rain sawed through twilight.

We wondered if the house could survive.


Turning the corner, our eyes jumped,

jerked at a million tiny frogs revelling in rain,

the black streaming street a foaming river.

Each raindrop a watery egg, containing

tadpole, exploding into perfect frog

as it hit the tarmac, transmogrified.


I ran ahead of inching car, scooping throbbing fistfuls,

placing them on nature strip, dividing green from black.

And still they splashed and clung to sodden tar,

each splayed finger reading braille on the rough road;

indecipherable invitation to party, or to climb, perversely,

the dark warm curves of the sudden crushing car.


Three years later, we sit in heat, and await the frogs

never seen since the Walpurgis abandon, that abundant night.

Sometimes we have heard them, piping, tinkling, muted bells,

signalling to each other, chirruping reminders

as they wait beneath rocks, huddled in just damp dark

that all droughts must break.  Our house still stands.


Thoughts? Carrots? Sticks? Comments? Go ahead!

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