Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers

 

Late March, and the woodland marshes are thawed,

Drowned by days-long rains, in the weak light

 Lost in drizzle and fog; and if you’re awake

And about in the seep and chill of the night—

Oh, the wood frogs and the peepers!

You’ll surely envy the sleepers

When those sirens seem to vie for the soul

In the waters where they mingle, calling.

The peepers’ warmthless, mystical choir,

Their cries like silver showers, upwards-falling

To some rare, too-strange hereafter;

And below, a grim ghoul laugher,

A vocal eruption from the underworld

Mumbling the liturgy of a black mass:

The raucous wood frogs’ counter-chorus;

And how they beckon the soul as you pass,

The sublime allied with the harsh!

But step to the edge of the marsh—

How silent they fall in anticipation!

Have you come at last to embrace your doom?

Don’t you thirst for the peace that can’t be found?

Will you enter the marsh in the mist and gloom?

And let’s believe the sodden loam

You once again will tread for home

As the sirens revive their bright-dark summons

For the lone on a springtime night’s sojourn.

But that moment of silence, heard from afar—

For one who arrives and who won’t return?

We are not your brothers’ keepers

Cry the wood frogs and the peepers.