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Best Famous Bullfrog Poems

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Written by John Trumbull | Create an image from this poem

The Owl And The Sparrow

 In elder days, in Saturn's prime,
Ere baldness seized the head of Time,
While truant Jove, in infant pride,
Play'd barefoot on Olympus' side,
Each thing on earth had power to chatter,
And spoke the mother tongue of nature.
Each stock or stone could prate and gabble, Worse than ten labourers of Babel.
Along the street, perhaps you'd see A Post disputing with a Tree, And mid their arguments of weight, A Goose sit umpire of debate.
Each Dog you met, though speechless now, Would make his compliments and bow, And every Swine with congees come, To know how did all friends at home.
Each Block sublime could make a speech, In style and eloquence as rich, And could pronounce it and could pen it, As well as Chatham in the senate.
Nor prose alone.
--In these young times, Each field was fruitful too in rhymes; Each feather'd minstrel felt the passion, And every wind breathed inspiration.
Each Bullfrog croak'd in loud bombastic, Each Monkey chatter'd Hudibrastic; Each Cur, endued with yelping nature, Could outbark Churchill's[2] self in satire; Each Crow in prophecy delighted, Each Owl, you saw, was second-sighted, Each Goose a skilful politician, Each Ass a gifted met'physician, Could preach in wrath 'gainst laughing rogues, Write Halfway-covenant Dialogues,[3] And wisely judge of all disputes In commonwealths of men or brutes.
'Twas then, in spring a youthful Sparrow Felt the keen force of Cupid's arrow: For Birds, as Æsop's tales avow, Made love then, just as men do now, And talk'd of deaths and flames and darts, And breaking necks and losing hearts; And chose from all th' aerial kind, Not then to tribes, like Jews, confined The story tells, a lovely Thrush Had smit him from a neigh'bring bush, Where oft the young coquette would play, And carol sweet her siren lay: She thrill'd each feather'd heart with love, And reign'd the Toast of all the grove.
He felt the pain, but did not dare Disclose his passion to the fair; For much he fear'd her conscious pride Of race, to noble blood allied.
Her grandsire's nest conspicuous stood, Mid loftiest branches of the wood, In airy height, that scorn'd to know Each flitting wing that waved below.
So doubting, on a point so nice He deem'd it best to take advice.
Hard by there dwelt an aged Owl, Of all his friends the gravest fowl; Who from the cares of business free, Lived, hermit, in a hollow tree; To solid learning bent his mind, In trope and syllogism he shined, 'Gainst reigning follies spent his railing; Too much a Stoic--'twas his failing.
Hither for aid our Sparrow came, And told his errand and his name, With panting breath explain'd his case, Much trembling at the sage's face; And begg'd his Owlship would declare If love were worth a wise one's care.
The grave Owl heard the weighty cause, And humm'd and hah'd at every pause; Then fix'd his looks in sapient plan, Stretch'd forth one foot, and thus began.
"My son, my son, of love beware, And shun the cheat of beauty's snare; That snare more dreadful to be in, Than huntsman's net, or horse-hair gin.
"By others' harms learn to be wise," As ancient proverbs well advise.
Each villany, that nature breeds, From females and from love proceeds.
'Tis love disturbs with fell debate Of man and beast the peaceful state: Men fill the world with war's alarms, When female trumpets sound to arms; The commonwealth of dogs delight For beauties, as for bones, to fight.
Love hath his tens of thousands slain, And heap'd with copious death the plain: Samson, with ass's jaw to aid, Ne'er peopled thus th'infernal shade.
"Nor this the worst; for he that's dead, With love no more will vex his head.
'Tis in the rolls of fate above, That death's a certain cure for love; A noose can end the cruel smart; The lover's leap is from a cart.
But oft a living death they bear, Scorn'd by the proud, capricious fair.
The fair to sense pay no regard, And beauty is the fop's reward; They slight the generous hearts' esteem, And sigh for those, who fly from them.
Just when your wishes would prevail, Some rival bird with gayer tail, Who sings his strain with sprightlier note, And chatters praise with livelier throat, Shall charm your flutt'ring fair one down, And leave your choice, to hang or drown.
Ev'n I, my son, have felt the smart; A Pheasant won my youthful heart.
For her I tuned the doleful lay,[4] For her I watch'd the night away; In vain I told my piteous case, And smooth'd my dignity of face; In vain I cull'd the studied phrase, And sought hard words in beauty's praise.
Her, not my charms nor sense could move, For folly is the food of love.
Each female scorns our serious make, "Each woman is at heart a rake.
"[5] Thus Owls in every age have said, Since our first parent-owl was made; Thus Pope and Swift, to prove their sense, Shall sing, some twenty ages hence; Then shall a man of little fame, One ** **** sing the same.

Written by Edgar Bowers | Create an image from this poem

Elegy: Walking the Line

 Every month or so, Sundays, we walked the line,
The limit and the boundary.
Past the sweet gum Superb above the cabin, along the wall— Stones gathered from the level field nearby When first we cleared it.
(Angry bumblebees Stung the two mules.
They kicked.
Thirteen, I ran.
) And then the field: thread-leaf maple, deciduous Magnolia, hybrid broom, and, further down, In light shade, one Franklinia Alatamaha In solstice bloom, all white, most graciously.
On the sunnier slope, the wild plums that my mother Later would make preserves of, to give to friends Or sell, in autumn, with the foxgrape, quince, Elderberry, and muscadine.
Around The granite overhang, moist den of foxes; Gradually up a long hill, high in pine, Park-like, years of dry needles on the ground, And dogwood, slopes the settlers terraced; pine We cut at Christmas, berries, hollies, anise, And cones for sale in Mister Haymore’s yard In town, below the Courthouse Square.
James Haymore, One of the two good teachers at Boys’ High, Ironic and demanding, chemistry; Mary Lou Culver taught us English: essays, Plot summaries, outlines, meters, kinds of clauses (Noun, adjective, and adverb, five at a time), Written each day and then revised, and she Up half the night to read them once again Through her pince-nez, under a single lamp.
Across the road, on a steeper hill, the settlers Set a house, unpainted, the porch fallen in, The road a red clay strip without a bridge, A shallow stream that liked to overflow.
Oliver Brand’s mules pulled our station wagon Out of the gluey mire, earth’s rust.
Then, here And there, back from the road, the specimen Shrubs and small trees my father planted, some Taller than we were, some in bloom, some berried, And some we still brought water to.
We always Paused at the weed-filled hole beside the beech That, one year, brought forth beech nuts by the thousands, A hole still reminiscent of the man Chewing tobacco in among his whiskers My father happened on, who, discovered, told Of dreaming he should dig there for the gold And promised to give half of what he found.
During the wars with Germany and Japan, Descendents of the settlers, of Oliver Brand And of that man built Flying Fortresses For Lockheed, in Atlanta; now they build Brick mansions in the woods they left, with lawns To paved and lighted streets, azaleas, camellias Blooming among the pines and tulip trees— Mercedes Benz and Cadillac Republicans.
There was another stream further along Divided through a marsh, lined by the fence We stretched to posts with Mister Garner’s help The time he needed cash for his son’s bail And offered all his place.
A noble spring Under the oak root cooled his milk and butter.
He called me “honey,” working with us there (My father bought three acres as a gift), His wife pale, hair a country orange, voice Uncanny, like a ghost’s, through the open door Behind her, chickens scratching on the floor.
Barred Rocks, our chickens; one, a rooster, splendid Sliver and grey, red comb and long sharp spurs, Once chased Aunt Jennie as far as the daphne bed The two big king snakes were familiars of.
My father’s dog would challenge him sometimes To laughter and applause.
Once, in Stone Mountain, Travelers, stopped for gas, drove off with Smokey; Angrily, grievingly, leaving his work, my father Traced the car and found them way far south, Had them arrested and, bringing Smokey home, Was proud as Sherlock Holmes, and happier.
Above the spring, my sister’s cats, black Amy, Grey Junior, down to meet us.
The rose trees, Domestic, Asiatic, my father’s favorites.
The bridge, marauding dragonflies, the bullfrog, Camellias cracked and blackened by the freeze, Bay tree, mimosa, mountain laurel, apple, Monkey pine twenty feet high, banana shrub, The owls’ tall pine curved like a flattened S.
The pump house Mort and I built block by block, Smooth concrete floor, roof pale aluminum Half-covered by a clematis, the pump Thirty feet down the mountain’s granite foot.
Mort was the hired man sent to us by Fortune, Childlike enough to lead us.
He brought home, Although he could not even drive a tractor, Cheated, a worthless car, which we returned.
When, at the trial to garnishee his wages, Frank Guess, the judge, Grandmother’s longtime neighbor, Whose children my mother taught in Cradle Roll, Heard Mort’s examination, he broke in As if in disbelief on the bank’s attorneys: “Gentlemen, must we continue this charade?” Finally, past the compost heap, the garden, Tomatoes and sweet corn for succotash, Okra for frying, Kentucky Wonders, limas, Cucumbers, squashes, leeks heaped round with soil, Lavender, dill, parsley, and rosemary, Tithonia and zinnias between the rows; The greenhouse by the rock wall, used for cuttings In late spring, frames to grow them strong for planting Through winter into summer.
Early one morning Mort called out, lying helpless by the bridge.
His ashes we let drift where the magnolia We planted as a stem divides the path The others lie, too young, at Silver Hill, Except my mother.
Ninety-five, she lives Three thousand miles away, beside the bare Pacific, in rooms that overlook the Mission, The Riviera, and the silver range La Cumbre east.
Magnolia grandiflora And one druidic live oak guard the view.
Proudly around the walls, she shows her paintings Of twenty years ago: the great oak’s arm Extended, Zeuslike, straight and strong, wisteria Tangled among the branches, amaryllis Around the base; her cat, UC, at ease In marigolds; the weeping cherry, pink And white arms like a blessing to the blue Bird feeder Mort made; cabin, scarlet sweet gum Superb when tribes migrated north and south.
Alert, still quick of speech, a little blind, Active, ready for laughter, open to fear, Pity, and wonder that such things may be, Some Sundays, I think, she must walk the line, Aunt Jennie, too, if she were still alive, And Eleanor, whose story is untold, Their presences like muses, prompting me In my small study, all listening to the sea, All of one mind, the true posterity.
Written by Mark Doty | Create an image from this poem

Turtle Swan

 Because the road to our house
is a back road, meadowlands punctuated
by gravel quarry and lumberyard,
there are unexpected travelers
some nights on our way home from work.
Once, on the lawn of the Tool and Die Company, a swan; the word doesn't convey the shock of the thing, white architecture rippling like a pond's rain-pocked skin, beak lifting to hiss at my approach.
Magisterial, set down in elegant authority, he let us know exactly how close we might come.
After a week of long rains that filled the marsh until it poured across the road to make in low woods a new heaven for toads, a snapping turtle lumbered down the center of the asphalt like an ambulatory helmet.
His long tail dragged, blunt head jutting out of the lapidary prehistoric sleep of shell.
We'd have lifted him from the road but thought he might bend his long neck back to snap.
I tried herding him; he rushed, though we didn't think those blocky legs could hurry-- then ambled back to the center of the road, a target for kids who'd delight in the crush of something slow with the look of primeval invulnerability.
He turned the blunt spear point of his jaws, puffing his undermouth like a bullfrog, and snapped at your shoe, vising a beakful of-- thank God-- leather.
You had to shake him loose.
We left him to his own devices, talked on the way home of what must lead him to new marsh or old home ground.
The next day you saw, one town over, remains of shell in front of the little liquor store.
I argued it was too far from where we'd seen him, too small to be his.
though who could tell what the day's heat might have taken from his body.
For days he became a stain, a blotch that could have been merely oil.
I did not want to believe that was what we saw alive in the firm center of his authority and right to walk the center of the road, head up like a missionary moving certainly into the country of his hopes.
In the movies in this small town I stopped for popcorn while you went ahead to claim seats.
When I entered the cool dark I saw straight couples everywhere, no single silhouette who might be you.
I walked those two aisles too small to lose anyone and thought of a book I read in seventh grade, "Stranger Than Science," in which a man simply walked away, at a picnic, and was, in the act of striding forward to examine a flower, gone.
By the time the previews ended I was nearly in tears-- then realized the head of one-half the couple in the first row was only your leather jacket propped in the seat that would be mine.
I don't think I remember anything of the first half of the movie.
I don't know what happened to the swan.
I read every week of some man's lover showing the first symptoms, the night sweat or casual flu, and then the wasting begins and the disappearance a day at a time.
I don't know what happened to the swan; I don't know if the stain on the street was our turtle or some other.
I don't know where these things we meet and know briefly, as well as we can or they will let us, go.
I only know that I do not want you --you with your white and muscular wings that rise and ripple beneath or above me, your magnificent neck, eyes the deep mottled autumnal colors of polished tortoise-- I do not want you ever to die.
Written by Seamus Heaney | Create an image from this poem

Death Of A Naturalist

 All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the townland; green and heavy headed
Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.
Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.
Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.
There were dragon-flies, spotted butterflies, But best of all was the warm thick slobber Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water In the shade of the banks.
Here, every spring I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied Specks to range on window-sills at home, On shelves at school, and wait and watch until The fattening dots burst into nimble- Swimming tadpoles.
Miss Walls would tell us how The daddy frog was called a bullfrog And how he croaked and how the mammy frog Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was Frogspawn.
You could tell the weather by frogs too For they were yellow in the sun and brown In rain.
Then one hot day when fields were rank With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges To a coarse croaking that I had not heard Before.
The air was thick with a bass chorus.
Right down the dam gross-bellied frogs were cocked On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails.
Some hopped: The slap and plop were obscene threats.
Some sat Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.
I sickened, turned, and ran.
The great slime kings Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.
Written by Carl Sandburg | Create an image from this poem

Young Bullfrogs

 JIMMY WIMBLETON listened a first week in June.
Ditches along prairie roads of Northern Illinois Filled the arch of night with young bullfrog songs.
Infinite mathematical metronomic croaks rose and spoke, Rose and sang, rose in a choir of puzzles.
They made his head ache with riddles of music.
They rested his head with beaten cadence.
Jimmy Wimbledon listened.

Written by Andrew Barton Paterson | Create an image from this poem

Frogs in chorus

 The chorus frogs in the big lagoon 
Would sing their songs to the silvery moon.
Tenor singers were out of place, For every frog was a double bass.
But never a human chorus yet Could beat the accurate time they set.
The solo singer began the joke; He sang, "As long as I live I'll croak, Croak, I'll croak," And the chorus followed him: "Croak, croak, croak!" The poet frog, in his plaintive tone, Sang of a sorrow was all his own; "How shall I win to my heart's desire? How shall I feel my spirit's fire?" And the solo frog in his deepest croak, "To fire your spirit," he sang, "eat coke, Coke, eat coke," And the chorus followed him: "Coke, coke, coke!" The green frog sat in a swampy spot And he sang the song of he knew not what.
"The world is rotten, oh cursed plight, That I am the frog that must set it right.
How shall I scatter the shades that lurk?" And the old man bullfrog sang, "Get work, Work, get work," And the chorus followed him: "Work, work, work!" The soaring spirits that fain would fly On wings of hope to the starry sky Must face the snarls of the jealous dogs, For the world is ruled by its chorus frogs.
Written by Andrew Barton Paterson | Create an image from this poem

The Fitzroy Blacksmith

 Under the spreading deficit, 
The Fitzroy Smithy stands; 
The smith, a spendthrift man is he, 
With too much on his hands; 
But the muscles of his brawny jaw 
Are strong as iron bands.
Pay out, pay put, from morn till night, You can hear the sovereigns go; Or you'll hear him singing "Old Folks at Home", In a deep bass voice and slow, Like a bullfrog down in the village well When the evening sun is low.
The Australian going "home" for loans Looks in at the open door; He loves to see the imported plant, And to hear the furnace roar, And to watch the private firms smash up Like chaff on the threshing-floor.
Toiling, rejoicing, borrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some scheme begun That never sees its close.
Something unpaid for, someone done, Has earned a night's repose.