for frogman Brent
Tree frogs are creaking
out in the dark cave of night,
in the hollow of the ocean’s roar
beyond my open window.
Where do they live during the day?
For hours I’ve studied the moss
growing on the forest’s trunks
and never spied a green tree frog.
Can I blame them for being
so completely themselves,
for embracing night so wholeheartedly
when it’s during the day we people clamor so loudly?
Were there only such a frog
as could sing a few appreciative lines
about the bubble of light in which I dwell
high up in my room above the woods!
How I exclaim myself with my pen,
how such human attentiveness
must be worthy of mention
in the annals of the frogs,
but who seem only to say,
“Prayers are best not
is the soundest reply.”
Frog, I see you hop across the freeway
in a rain storm as I speed by.
Water blasting out of wheel ruts,
juggernauts of tires bearing down,
cars like hydroplanes, freighters
like mountains flying by.
Under a hundred wheels (and mine)
you hop and hop and do not stop,
you do not dodge or turn around or give a thought
to being crushed and turned to mush.
In my rear view mirror I see you make it
to the other side. You lucky, lucky frog,
the whole wide world
your slippery bog!
Note: “Lucky Frog” was previously published in Many Trails to the Summit: Poems by Forty-two Northwest Poets, edited by David D. Horowitz, 2010.
her stream dried up
the young frog sets out
down the human trail
sitting on the deck—
both my cat’s and my head turn
at spring’s first frog-croak
hey there’s a whole clan
of green tree frogs
creaking over there
The photographer: Brent Matsuda is a naturalist and wildlife biologist with a specialization in herpetology (the study of amphibians and reptiles), based in British Columbia. Although most of his professional work involves birds, his personal passion is frogs. Brent conducted his thesis work on the only frog in North America that uses internal fertilization and breeds in fast-flowing cold mountain streams: the coastal tailed frog. He is the lead author of the Amphibians and Reptiles of British Columbia field guide. In his spare time, Brent loves to photograph frogs wherever he travels in the world.