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A Frog Remembers The Quiet by Helen Patrice


I spend my time in the mud, the well, the lily pond.

It’s comfortable, if a little dull.

 

Sometimes a fairy visits.

She shrinks herself down to my frog size,

and we croak.

She’s after company, fun, some mischief.

I think, compared to her flitting,

my life lacks possibility.

 

She puts in my head wild ideas –

to be a man, a prince,

climb out of the well,

and live on land, in a house, even a palace.

Dreams and fancies become plans.

I look at the sketches we have scratched

into the slime.

 

She’s going to get herself a sweeping black dress,

find some baby to curse,

be That Sort Of Fairy.

I’m going to get a girl to kiss me,

turn into a man,

live happily ever after.

 

Then my fairy friend has a black dress,

and a pendant of jet and moonlight.

She casts a spell on me

that I thank her for,

so now I’m forced to endlessly return a ball

to a silly girl who could play anywhere she likes,

but thinks it’s fun to lob it down the well.

 

My fairy friend curses a baby,

becomes a legend.

I let the girl kiss me.

I become a man,

famed for once having been a frog.

Clothes itch, air dries my skin,

and I’m one gender all the time.

More slime grows over our well etchings.

My wife is the kindest woman in the world,

but she is no soft mud covering, cool and wet.

 

My fairy friend visits,

tells me we both got what we wanted.

The bright lights of celebrity thrill her, blind me,

just as headlights dazzle a cane toad on the road.

The golden ball, ensconced on a plinth,

lights the whole palace.

Everywhere except my heart.

Helen Patrice is an Australian writer living in Naarm, oddly obsessed with fairy tales, myth, and folklore. She lives with a view of the Dandenong Ranges, which often inspire her work. Her new fairy tale collection INTO DARK WOODS will be published in 2024. Helen lives with her husband, adult offspring, two opinionated cats, and one small yappy dog.


Image for “The Frog Prince,” by Walter Crane.

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