Ripples

 

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Taking pictures of frogs is one of my favorite spring activities, and during this week’s break, I’ve been haunting two local vernal pools. Sometimes finding frogs is like completing a hidden picture puzzle. You look and look and don’t see any, and then suddenly realize there’s one over there. Oh! Then, there’s another! And another! Then, the challenge is to get a picture of them without scaring them away.  I’ve had limited success this year (I don’t think the frogs like the miserable weather either!), but have had great fun searching. I love using photos with poetry and thought this week I might use one of my new pictures to inspire a poem about frogs.

Then the other day, I finally had the chance to dive into Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s book, Poems Are Teachers. What an inspiration!  I haven’t read far (too many spring break “field trips”!) but am loving it. It’s an incredibly rich brew of resources spiced with Amy’s passion for and knowledge about poetry. I’m struggling to find the superlatives to do it justice, but the bottom line is, I think this book will have a major impact on both my teaching and my writing.

Anyway, while I was toying with the idea of writing a frog-inspired poem, I read Chapter 1, and Mary Lee Hahn’s words struck me. “When I choose a photo, I notice everything in it. Then I think about who or what might be just outside the edges of the photo.” Her words inspired me to go back to some recent frog photos and push outside the edges of the image, in search of a poem.

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Ripples

I step off the river path
into cool shadows
My eyes skim the vernal pool
seeking irregularity
a broken plane
on the leaf-lined pond
where light freckles the surface
tree shadows criss cross and
reflections run riot
searching, searching
’til..
there!
The bump of your eyes
catches mine
I crouch, snap a photo
then step forward eagerly
too eagerly
and with a splash you dive
your pale amphibian legs
flexing and pushing
ghostly shadows in the murky water
’til you vanish from sight
only ripples mark
where once you were

©2018 M.  Hogan

 

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This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Tabatha Yeatts at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference. Tabatha is also celebrating the release of IMPERFECT: Poems about mistakes for middle schoolers. I’m thrilled to have a poem included in this collection. Woohoo! Pssttt—There are even rumors about a party! Head on over so you don’t miss the fun!

33 thoughts on “Ripples

  1. Today it is your photos that are mesmerizing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laura Shovan says:

    Molly, these photos are amazing. “The bump of your eyes” — perfect phrase for the frogs. We have a vernal pond in our neighborhood. This time of year, my favorite sound is the spring peepers.

    Like

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Laura! I love the sound of spring peepers! Carl Little has a wonderful poem called Zones of Peepers, but I can’t find it anywhere on line to share a link. (I shared part of it in a blog post once, but sadly the link there no longer works.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your poem. It inspired this one:

    Circles

    show the way water
    hugs everything
    it touches.
    Copyright 2018 Brenda Davis Harsham

    Like

  4. margaretsmn says:

    Another round of wonderful photos. I can imagine this subject would be tough to catch with a camera. Love the poem and how it takes me right into the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tabatha says:

    Love your photos! Perhaps it was YOU who ordered the giant butter frog?? I love “My eyes skim the vernal pool/seeking irregularity” — sometimes we find what we are looking for by seeking the out of place!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your poem is wonderful, Molly, and your photos are stunning. I was struck by the “surface” where “reflections run riot,” which inspired this:

    a teeming world
    hides beneath
    a silent mirror

    It looks like you’re having a wonderful break traipsing through the woods! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kd0602 says:

    Molly, I am mesmerized by that frog photo–the one right above the poem! You make me want to go out in search of frogs! I love your poem too. “where light freckles the surface
    tree shadows criss cross and
    reflections run riot” I love this description! Now I will probably have to read Poems are Teachers–I’m wishing I read it before April started!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Kim

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Kim. I’ve been loving your poems this month and those of your students. It must have been such a thrill to see them popping up in your e-mail over break. I wonder how different the frogs are in your part of the country. I love seeing all the varieties here but really know very little about them. I’m an ignorant admirer! 🙂 I’m already plotting how I can get to the vernal pool next week when school’s back in session and free time is at a premium.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. lindabaie says:

    It makes me sad not to have frogs very near here. I’ve tried to take pictures a few times, but cannot catch them. Yours are prize-worthy, Molly, extraordinary. What a beautiful poem that captures what you saw and thought, and what a great month of learning too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Linda! A good zoom makes all the difference in the world for taking frog pictures. I’ll miss my free wandering time when school starts up next week, but I get to look forward to writing poetry with students.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this poem. The ripple made me think about humans and the marks we leave behind. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kay Mcgriff says:

    Those photos are amazing–and your poem is just as breathtaking. I love the reflections running riot and the light freckling the surface. And yes, Amy’s book is amazing. I have enjoyed exploring it with her through this month of poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful and very effective imagery in your poem in so many places! My favorite lines (there were many) “where light freckles the surface”; “reflections run riot” (alliteration, yeah!) Beautiful pictures too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Where light freckles the surface….beautiful line. And, I love reading about your process! It’s always fun to get a peek behind the curtain. I hope you’ve had a fun and productive week. This last bit of the year is a tough one. You’ve done well this National Poetry month!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Linda. I have had a wonderful break and am looking forward to finishing the year strong! I haven’t done much this NPM, but I’ve so enjoyed reading what others have done.

      Like

  13. maryleehahn says:

    Gorgeous photos. Love that golden eye reflected in the pool. And vernal pools…I so want to explore some someday, looking for those places
    “on the leaf-lined pond
    where light freckles the surface
    tree shadows criss cross and
    reflections run riot”
    (Glad my words inspired you!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Alice Nine says:

    Your photos are magnificent. I noticed how in the first half of your poem, you are telling your experience to anyone listening, But then midway, with “The bump of your eyes / catches mine” you begin speaking to the frog. I love that turn in the poem. The movement and image you create with “flexing and pushing / ghostly shadows in the murky water” is perfect. I’m wondering if you familiar with Joyce Sidman’s poem “Listen for Me” –about spring peepers.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great poem and pics of the bullfrogs–I think–love the eyes. I’m doing that same think all the time, trying to get as close as I can to some critter without them taking off–quite a challenge, thanks Molly!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I missed this last week, Molly. Gorgeous photos. Aren’t vernal pools the most peaceful places? Little can we tell how much life is teeming beneath the surface of those ripples.

    Liked by 1 person

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