How to Approach a Frog




How To Approach a Frog

First, find a likely place,
a place to haunt,
a place where you can simply be
open your eyes
and senses
to the wide, wild world

Next, listen for the elusive
look for the irregular,
the out of place
Then move with care
(too sudden or fast
and it will vanish
with a speedy splash)
Memorize the lines, the nuances
Let it settle in your mind

Finally, approach it slowly
with supplicant hands
loose and open
not seeking to capture
but to share space and time
so that when the ripples
inevitably spread
they record what was there
rather than what was lost

Repeat these steps
to write a poem

©2018 M. Hogan

Last week I wrote about how much fun I’d been having hanging out at vernal pools and photographing frogs. While responding to some comments, it occurred to me that trying to capture a picture of a frog, or a frog itself, is similar to trying to write a poem. Then Tabatha Yeatts commented that “sometimes we find what we are looking for by seeking the out of place!” These thoughts all melded together into this poem.

For more poetry, visit Live Your Poem, where poet Irene Latham is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup this week. She’s been inspired by the arts and artists of the Harlem Renaissance this month. Check out her powerful collection of poems and some others as well! Enjoy!

29 thoughts on “How to Approach a Frog

  1. cindaroo42 says:

    Lovely comparison! I especially love when you say you’re “not seeking to capture but the share space a time”. It gives me a peek to how you write your poetry and where the ideas and words come from!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your students will love this one and learn a new vocabulary word to boot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tara Smith says:

    I love the way you framed the imaginative work to “record what was there
    rather than what was lost”
    Beautifully said.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tabatha says:

    That third stanza is gorgeous, Molly! I love approaching with “supplicant hands.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I love this! It’s so true – sometimes poems can be very, very sneaky, and the closer you get to them, the farther they hop away! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful analogy between quietly and carefully seeking out a frog and a poem–I love that this comparison came at the very end, it adds spice to both experiences. Rich poem Molly, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Our vernal pool frogs can hang out together, Molly. Today I served up a Frogsicle!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kay Mcgriff says:

    That’s an amazing photograph you captured! And I love how your ideas melded in to a beautiful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amanda Potts says:

    Stanza 3 “approach it slowly/ with supplicant hands” – such a well-crafted set of lines, especially in light of the rest of the stanza: the sharing of space, the inevitable disappearance, the celebration of what was there. Gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alice Nine says:

    Stanza 3 — Wow! “not seeking to capture / but to share space and time” and “…record what was there / rather than what was lost.” I will be pondering these thoughts on many levels. Powerful for living.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Irene Latham says:

    Repeat these steps.. yes! Who knew frog-catching and poem-wrangling had so much in common… thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Your poem is lovely. I felt myself at the pond,

    Liked by 1 person

  13. maryleehahn says:

    I love how the ripples from last week’s poem allowed you to find this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love every line, but especially these:
    “open your eyes
    and senses
    to the wide, wild world”
    Yes, trying to photograph a frog (or bird) is like trying to write a poem. Beautiful post, Molly!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sometimes what was there wasn’t lost at all, just moved to a new place. Alice read your poem and left word of it at my poem, Let Me. I can see her connecting them. Even more meaningful, given what you’ve shared.


  16. supplicant hands!

    to write a poem,

    Love that idea of elusive frog-grabbing!


  17. margaretsmn says:

    That whole last stanza from supplicant hands to recording what was there, I am brought in with a hook and want to live in this poem of freedom and connectedness.


  18. dmsherriff says:

    I don’t know how I missed this one last week! What a fabulous poem! ” listen for the elusive
    look for the irregular,
    the out of place” – what a wonderful choice of words – slow and methodical! Makes me want to write my own “how to approach a….” Thanks for sharing!


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