Monday, June 21, 2010

Frog From The Sky

author’s note:

I owe the last line of this poem to a fortune cookie fortune found “by accident” as I stepped from my car onto a New Orleans street years ago:

“It is better to idealize the real than to realize the ideal.”

I’m still pondering that statement.  I now wonder if, by idealizing the real, we may actually end up realizing the ideal.


What if you believed
doing the right thing
was its own reward?--

but then…one day

a bullfrog falls from the sky
and you don’t what else to do
so you catch it and cradle it
in your instinctive hands

and so, when the frog says,
“Now you must do
whatever I ask you to do,”
what can you do but obey--?--
after all, you assumed
a certain responsibility
when you saved the frog.

Thus, you must carry
that strange moist bundle of heartbeat
as you march forever
along a thin barely-visible line--
up and down mountains
so numerous they become
through so many armies
of irritating ants,
through all sorts of storm
including rain so tedious
you don’t know where
the tears of boredom end
and the cleansing raindrops begin.

Worse yet, once it has issued its instructions
the frog goes mum--
the frog won’t even look at you now
and so, you don’t know if you’re loved
though after awhile, you cease to care.

You no longer dare
to want or wish.
You don’t even curse
the day you found the frog--
you’ve come to see destiny
as neither friend nor foe,
but as something so monolithic
as to be anonymous.

Thus, in such a frame,
you hardly know what’s where
when in a brilliant burst, you arrive
in the deepest recess of the deepest cave
of the highest mountain--
you’ve gone so deep
you don’t even need to think
just as you didn’t need to think
all those years ago
when you caught the frog--

and so, you know you must
place the bullfrog on a stone--a stone throne--
as if performing a coronation,
as if you now control destiny.

And since every gift given up
is replaced
you receive a diamond
to carry in the palm of your hand--

to accompany you
on your backward trek
that doesn‘t even seem to take
half as long--suddenly
you turn a corner
and are home.

But of course, such things
as precious diamonds
always disappear--
or at least, disappear
from view

but, no matter--you’ve gone
past the point of bragging,
moreover, you can feel
the jewel burning,
so deep and yet so close--

you’ve realized the ideal:
the diamond
which cost you so much
is actually priceless.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton

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