Slender in the Grass

 of springtime,
sleep on. A glint
of green on rising
 grass,  reed-slender beyond
 all imagining, you cling
 to your swaying, sunlit world
with perfect confidence;  you entrance
our raucous, chattering pond with silence.

Comments are welcome. To leave a comment, please click below.
For more information on the Etheree, a syllabic poem containing ten lines and a total of fifty-five syllables, please click HERE and HERE.

85 thoughts on “Slender in the Grass

  1. So lovely and peaceful. I like hyphenated words/ideas: reed-slender; sometimes they come unbidden, which is so sweet…

    1. It is fun when those hyphenated words appear, isn’t it? “As slender as a reed” and “reed-slender” just aren’t the same, never mind the syllable count.

      Lovely and peaceful is just what the pond was, Monica. I’m glad some of that carried to you through the poem.


    1. I’m glad you like it, Jim. It’s an interesting form because it’s so tightly structured.

      I just was thinking about another metaphor for poems themselves. They’re rather like those telescopes you’ve been talking about, in that they let us see new worlds. All we have to do is polish up the words nicely – and maybe be sure we’re looking through the right end.


      1. It is a good metaphor. People go to great lengths to create their tools for expression and exploration. It is amazing how determined and creative they can be.

  2. One,
    Three, six,
    Ten, and then
    To fair fifteen.
    On comes twenty-one,
    Followed by twenty-eight.
    Thirty-six is next to wait,
    And adding nine gives forty-five.
    The final line’s ten make fifty-five.
    Yes sir-ee, etheree, froggy feels free.

    1. Not only that, Steve, froggy’s friend is laughing with delight. I figured it out, and didn’t even have to resort to paper and pencil. One plus two is three, plus three is six, plus four is ten, plus five is fifteen…!

      Photography, poetry and math, all in one neat little bundle. Who knew that could be so much fun?


    1. Thanks, Bella Rum. I took the photo last weekend, and then found the poem this week. I was going to save the post for a time when I was feeling uninspired – money in the bank, so to speak. But I liked it so much I just had to post it. Think of me as one of your grands, with something new for the refrigerator…


  3. I
    love it
    every time
    I read one of
    your blog posts I smile.
    Most times I do not say
    how much I like what you say.
    The way you link your words to tell
    your stories and open many eyes
    to the life that’s around us everywhere.

    1. Daniel, what an absolute treat – not only that you stopped by, but that you brought with you such a wonderful poem. Thank you so much! There aren’t enough smiles in the world, so if I’ve given you some, I’m happy beyond words.

      I hope spring’s getting established in your part of the world, and that everyone — two and four-footed — is well. I just realized this week that I’ve been at this for six years April 19. Amazing, isn’t it? I’m so glad that you’re still reading along after all this time.


      1. Six is not only a triangular number, as you saw above, but also what the Greeks called a perfect number. That’s because the sum of all the smaller numbers that go into six is also six. The smaller (positive whole) numbers that divide (evenly) into six are one, two, and three, and

        1 + 2 + 3 = 6.

        1. I went over to explore perfect numbers a bit more, and came across “positive integers.” That reminded me of the Harrisonville, Missouri, courthouse, its slogan about public service being a public trust, and your comment about integrity.

          I beat it over to the OED to double-check my hunch, and sure enough. “Integer” and “integrity” are connected. I think I should add etymology to photography, poetry and math in my fun little bundle. It seems to have become an integral part of the discussion.

    1. Thanks, montucky. This little fellow probably qualities as another “special reward for those who care to look closely.”
      They are all around us, after all.


    1. I thought of our discussions about equipment and “eye” when I came home and discovered what I had. This little fellow was about an inch and a half long, and about twenty feet away. Who knew how hard it is to keep a camera steady when you’re trying to zoom in on something? Well, I do, now.

      And now I know a bit more about what’s possible with the camera I have. Let’s face it — “How did I do that?” is just as good as a motivating question as “What will this camera do?” Maybe better.

      I’m so glad you like the little fellow. He is handsome, isn’t he?


    1. That’s the essence, isn’t it? And don’t forget “secure.” There’s nothing like a perch in the middle of a pond to make sleeping and singing a little easier.


  4. Morning Linda:

    I instantly recognized the greenish little creature embracing the rising grass.

    “Photography, poetry and math, all in one neat little bundle. Who knew that could be so much fun?”

    It shows miles away how much fun you’re having weaving your words and pressing the shutter button.

    Thank you for making our eyes feel better.


    1. Omar,

      I am having fun. I figure as long as I live by these questions, I’ll continue to have fun:

      “I wonder where that path goes?”
      “I wonder what would happen if I try this?”
      “I wonder if it’ll work better next time?”
      “I wonder if I can figure this out?”

      The questions work in a variety of situations, of course. Sometimes you end up with a really cool photo of a frog, and sometimes you end up with a new subway system. I’m looking forward to seeing that, too!


    1. Isn’t it an amazement? Apparently their suction-cup pads help to keep them in place, along with a bit of slime that increases the holding power. I was curious about the light glinting off the frog, too. It was a dry afternoon, and yet he seems wet in the photo. As it turns out, that same slime helps to keep them moist when they’re out of the water.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the poem, Georgette. Don’t you think Thoreau would be a good name for him?


  5. Love the photo and one of my favorite critters is now immortalized in a delightful etheree. How he can sleep with all the spring racket, I don’t know!

    1. Gué,

      Do you have these around your place? In one of my initial encounters with the critter, I heard it first, and then spent the next hour trying to track it down.

      As a matter of fact, it was just above OtherBug’s head, on this porch outside Breaux Bridge. It was tucked up into a corner, just beyond that lantern on the left, hanging on to the ceiling. Unfortunately, I was more interested in Bug photos than frog photos at this point, but he wasn’t more than an inch long, and loud enough to make you think he was a foot long and coming after you.

      Racket? I suspect that peaceful little frog up above can do his part to keep the pond jumping.


      1. I’ve seen one little green tree frog and maybe a half dozen toads in the 30 odd years we’ve lived in this house. I guess our neighborhood isn’t the most hospitable for them.

        Mama and Daddy had oodles of them in Sumter. Of course, there were woods behind their house for the first 5 or 6 years they lived in that house.

        There were sliding glass doors from the family room to the patio. The lights would draw bugs and the bugs drew frogs and toads. It was a lot of fun watching them.

  6. Linda, I know that getting such an amazing photo is a combination of luck and alertness. How easy it would have been NOT to see that tiny green frog in that green landscape. The photo evokes such peace, and your poem reminds us that you were surrounded by a chorus of sounds. I like thinking about that tiny island of stillness in that alive atmosphere.

    1. Rosemary,

      What I’d love to know is whether the couple who were looking for frogs in the very same place ever saw one. They were ready, with multiple cameras and mighty big lenses, and it was the second day they’d been there. The last I saw them, they seemed to have decided to stick with the turtles.

      I was especially lucky to have a friend with me whose eyesight is better than mine. When I first spotted the frog, I thought he was a node on the grass stem, because he was so tiny. I kept seeing him, and then losing him. Eventually, we got a “fix” by using those brown and white stems you can see in the photo. After that, I just crossed my fingers and kept taking photos, using different settings.

      Which is to say, along with luck and alertness, I’d add persistence. Next time, I’m going to add binoculars, too, to help compensate for my decreasing vision.


    1. Thanks, Jeanie. Just think, it would take thirty-six of these little guys (more or less) to line up along one of those “yard sticks” you showed us. I’m still laughing at myself over that one.

      Has your heron showed up yet? I’m eager for you to be able to get out and about in truly spring weather. Most of our coots are gone now — a sure sign that things will be improving for you. They don’t travel unless they know they’re going to have decent accomodations when they arrive.


  7. What a charming little fellow who clings there thinking he has fooled everyone into thinking he is part of the grasses. What would he think if he knew how many people in cyberspace have lingered over his publicity photo? Your etheree is a perfect accompaniment.

    1. Kayti, I’ve just spent the past few minutes reading about frog eyelids. They have three eyelids, one of which is a membrane. Look at this:

      “Frogs use their semitransparent third eyelids on land as well. While blinking their regular eyelids can distribute moisture across their eyes, raising their nictitating membranes helps keep frogs’ eyes moist. They can raise the transparent eyelids halfway to keep part of their vision sharp, or cover their eyes completely.”

      My guess is that this fellow is employing that membrane to keep his eyes moist. The biologist where I took the photo is going to be available on Tuesday, so I’m going to see if I can identify this one, and get some details.

      I’m not sure this one cares much about publicity. If he did, he would have made himself a little more obvious to the photographers, don’t you think?


      1. One of my grandsons is a wildlife biologist, and I know he could identify this little fellow. Unfortunately he lives in Southern California. I forwarded this to him but haven’t heard back. I’m sure you will know before that happens.

  8. Seeing this delightful photo and reading your lovely poem makes hope well up that spring really is on its way — thanks, Linda!
    It’s been such a long, cold, bitter winter, and we’re all ready for some warmth, color, plant and critter activity, and rebirth. (And green is one of my very favorite colors!!)

    1. You’re not alone in that hunger for spring, Debbie. A blogger I know became so hungry for a little green in her life, she planted a patch of green in her sidebar. It wasn’t anything fancy, it just was green rectangle. She said it gave her something to look at besides snow. Now, that’s a bad winter.

      We do have spring, indeed. The same day I took this frog’s photo, I took some photos of yellow and purple iris, spiderwort, evening primrose and assorted other wildflowers I haven’t identified yet. They’re such joys – I hope your world’s beginning to fill with them, too.


    1. He is perfectly at ease, at one with the world, isn’t he? This may be a good week to try and imitate him. I just looked at the forecast, and smiled at all those big sunshine icons. Painters, varnishers, gardeners and walkers are going to wake up and start moving.

      Thanks for the applause, phil. I’m glad you like the photo.


  9. You did great holding the camera steady for the sleepy frog on the slender stem!! Love the poetry as always!! The birds too amaze me with their tenacity holding fast to swaying branches and sleeping comfortably standing on one foot!! :)

    I love green!

    1. I’ll tell you a little secret, Judy. I tried out your green vine flourish with this post, just to see if it wouldn’t go nicely with the photo. If it had, I wasn’t going to ask if I could use it. But it just didn’t work. It looks much better on your site because of the different backgrounds.

      Every time I take another little step in photography (even when it’s accidental!) I admire even more what you and others are able to do. Part of it’s equipement – no question about that. But just as important is knowing what your equipment will do, and part of it’s cultivating patience, especially when working in nature. I’m just happy we have the ability to capture some of these wonderful moments, and share them with one another.

      You reminded me of the Great Blue who spent a good part of January and February across from me, on the swim platform of a boat. He was a bit out of the wind there, and would sleep for hours, one foot tucked up. I caught him changing foots, once. Then, he went back to sleep.


  10. Another catchy etheree, Linda! Great photo, too. The skies and tree limbs are awash here with birds of prey, the roseates, the migrants, and the usual wisps of white from the egrets and blips of blue from the herons. We’ve almost jumped from spring to summer, and the first tree frog started calling for rain on my porch last week–the rain was happy to oblige. We had a wet 2nd annual Pyrate Day Saturday. I’m still recovering!

    1. There’s lots of bird action here, too, Wendy, but what really surprised me the same afternoon I photographed the frog was the number of turtles sunning, swimming and engaging in generally interesting behavior. I’ve never seen turtles so active, and I expect that there was some courting going on.

      It’s a shame you had rain for the festivities. We were drizzly and gray all weekend, but there wasn’t any good rain to knock the pollen off the trees. I want a good thunderstorm with plenty of wind, just to clear this stuff out.

      For now, it’s just spring-heading-toward summer. The marina was just thick with fingerlings today – the first I’ve seen, but there were thousands. It won’t be long until the glass minnows show up, and it will sound like rain every night.

      Glad you enjoyed Mr. Froggie and the poem. Any chance for a Pyrate’s poem from you? April’s poetry month, you know!


  11. Love the picture, love the poem. I’m not going to read any of the other comments this time, I start second guessing myself when I read other peoples thoughts ;-) You’ve encouraged me in the past when it comes to approaching a creative work and there may not just be “one” right answer.

    What really jumped off the poem to me was the phrase “clinging to …… with perfect confidence” That is the same emotions I have when I’m 20 feet up in the air setting roof trusses. I know what I’m doing and it feels good.

    ps I’m still finding myself thinking about those quotes by Bonhoffer and Martin Luther King Jr you shared a week ago. I shared a portion of them with a friend Saturday morning over coffee.

    1. DM, I love that you picked up on that bit about clinging with perfect confidence, and your example of setting trusses is perfect. Once we’ve learned and practiced a skill, it does become what they call second nature to us, easy and comfortable.

      Not only that, we get to the point where we can make adjustments almost unconsciously, just like that frog in the wind. I’m constantly adjusting my varnish as I work, to keep the flow perfect for changing conditions. But if someone asks me how I know how much of this, or how much of that they should add, I find it almost impossible to tell them. I mutter something like, “Oh, just put in enough solvent until it’s right…” and they look at me like I’m plain crazy.

      It just crossed my mind that it may not even be a matter of “answers” when it comes to a painting or poem. Sometimes, a response is enough, and responses will differ. Not so very long ago, there was some lemon sorbet on the table as a dessert. One person said, “Oh, my gosh. This is just too sweet for a sorbet.” Another said, “This is so sour I can’t even enjoy it.” Of course, it all came out of the same carton. ;)


  12. What a sweet image and poem!

    When I see such scenes on my hikes — usually with lizards — I’m always struck by similar feelings. I see their whole universe in a wee clump of forest. I imagine greater beings doing the same to me on my hikes in the vast forest, hee. A bit like the ending scene to “Men in Black.” :)

    1. FeyGirl,

      What a wonderful conceit — that someone is watching us, just as we watch the worlds surrounding us. It makes perfect sense to me, and I haven’t even seen Men in Black.

      The lizards are coming out here in full force, now. At first there were only a few, and most of them were missing tails. Now, I’m seeing many more, of several species, and the tails are mostly intact. I suspect a little warfare may be taking place. Our green anoles apparently are being targeted by an invasive species native to Cuba. They’ve been moving along the Gulf Coast – and now they’re here.

      I hope you’re finding time to get out and enjoy the season. Even where the changes aren’t so dramatic as they are farther north, spring is spring, and it’s always a delight.


      1. I’m so sorry for the late reply, but it’s so funny… Anoles have come up twice now, immediately in succession! Hmmmm…. :) We also have anoles, and unfortunately the biggest and most brilliant are the non-natives from Cuba ( ). There are smaller non-native anoles as well, but they all seem to eat our native lizards, sniff.

        It’s been absolutely lovely, and I’m trying to escape as much as humanly possible. Ditto to you — I hope you’re enjoying the warming temperatures!! I can feel summer already.

        1. There never is “late” around here, and never any need to apologize! It’s just great to have you around to add to my knowledge. And I must say, that’s one great title — “Knight of the Anoles,” indeed!

          I did get out into the countryside on Easter Sunday, and being at work now is pure pleasure. We’re in that narrow window, though. It won’t be long before the heat and humidity are back, full-strength. This is the season to enjoy nature at her finest!

    1. Dana, I surely do hope it’s a good case of spring fever that’s been keeping you off the blogs – and not the kind related to pollen! Thanks so much for the kind words about the poems. They’ve been fun to work with.

      Are you still leaving poems out and about? I still remember those posts. It’s such a great idea. I need to come back and re-read how you did that.


  13. Dear Linda

    How I loved your froggy etheree and the rich commentary and discussion following it!

    Did you know that in mythology, frogs are creatures of the underworld, in astrological symbolism connected to the planet Pluto, which rules the sign of Scorpio?

    I love frogs but never saw any until I left home and went to the Scottish mainland from the island of my birth, where there are NO frogs. Apparently the soil is either too alkaline, or too acid (can never remember which…) for them to survive there.

    I am leaving you a link. When you click through you will instantly, visually and descriptively, see why…

    Thank you!

    1. Anne, there have been days when I’ve felt much like your little frog. And the story that went along with it? Oh, my. It reminded me of a saying I’ve always liked, but sometimes forget to honor: everything (and everyone) counts — even someone who’s quite literally circling the drain.

      In the course of my reading, I believe I came across a note that toads live on land, but frogs have to have water available. That doesn’t speak precisely to the issue you mentioned, but it does suggest that the toads wouldn’t be happy if the soil wasn’t right. It reminded me of snakeless Ireland. No disrespect to St. Patrick, but I think I remember their island status having something to do with that absence of snakes.

      You’ve reminded me of something else from my childhood. There was a tv show that featured Andy Devine, and a frog that seems a little creepy now. In fact, the whole show seems a little creepy. But it was 1955, and I wore Buster Brown shoes, and they sponsored the show, and I thought the frog was funny. The line, “Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy!” became famous across the land. You can see what that was all about in this short clip.

      And then there’s this, from Tom Hennen. It was published in the Writers’ Almanac on April 7, the same day as your comment. I leave it to you to draw any significance.


    1. Thank you, Mary. Every time I looked at the photo, I smiled. I had hoped that the little guy and my words about him would make others smile, too. We need all the smiles we can get!


    1. OldOldLady, you’re exactly right. He looks absolutely contented and peaceful. Isn’t it nice when we fit into our world so perfectly? I hope your spring is turning equally lovely – although, of course, you tend to remain more “springish” than most of us.

      Such a delight to see you. I have a question or two about Spoon River – be in touch soon.


    1. Thanks, nikkipolani. He does look to me to be the very essence of springtime, and best of all – he doesn’t have a tail to catch on fire. Oh, my. Here’s to a peaceful and injury-free rest of the week, for us all.


  14. I quite enjoyed this, and was amused by my first reading “entrance” as a noun, wondering whether you were playing with words in a way to speak of this little creature entering our pond. And then the switch flicked (always such fun), and another kind of entering came to mind!

    1. Oh, Allen! I couldn’t remember the proper word for such an effect, so I went looking. It seems that, “She meant to entrance the crowd when she made her entrance through the hidden entrance” gives us a set of heteronyms — words that are spelled identically but have different meanings when pronounced differently, and an example of homophones — words that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning, derivation, or spelling.

      I found there are people who collect heteronyms and construct heteronymic sentences. I’ll not sentence you to any more such sentences, but you can explore them here, if you like.

      And this story from The Smithsonian Magazine is
      great. The best line from the story? “Man’s laughter can be crueler than manslaughter.”


      1. OK, that takes the cake! I’ll leave it to the experts to come up with and find such heteronyms. I’m afraid I’ll hurt myself with laughing. Thanks for the chuckles.

    1. becca, as far as I could tell, that’s exactly what Mr. Frog was doing — having a nice nap. All of that peacefulness and green does feel like Spring, doesn’t it? One more cold front tomorrow, and then maybe that will be it for the year, so all of us critters can finally wave goodbye to Winter.


  15. WP and Yahoo are driving me nuts. I know that I commeted on this post for in WP there is my comment bigger than life yet I can not find it here in this post. I hope that I’m not going nuts.

    Love the poem but love the cute photo even more. It ‘s an excellent shot of the the little green “minkie.” That’s a name I learned from a blogger. Anything small is a “minkie.”

    Oh and I love little frogs. I keep a shallow pan filled with water and rocks so the frog/s can hop out. If the pan is too deep, they’ll drown. They tire themselves out as they attempt to climb out and of course they can not if the water is too deep. They appreciate water in the heat of summer. ~yvonne

    1. Yvonne, I went looking, and you don’t have a comment in my spam, or waiting to be moderated. I don’t think you’re crazy. I think your comment just got lost somehow. It does happen.

      I’m just glad you stopped by again, because I thought you really would like this photo. I’m so fond of toads and frogs, and this is the first one I’ve photographed. He was such a tiny thing, and it made me smile to see him so absolutely secure and content.

      Those little terra cotta toad houses are common around here. People tuck them into their gardens and flower beds. They provide shade, of course, but some people go further and soak the terra cotta in water, which makes it even more pleasant for the frog.

      I’d not thought about the need for rocks for frogs. I do that with bird baths and bird water bowls. I read somewhere that the rock helps the bird gauge the depth of the water.

      I loved your last post, by the way. I think you must have closed comments on it, too, as I couldn’t find a place to leave one. Of course you know I loved the baby elephant most! And I love that you always give a caution about things like that, too — don’t try this at home!


      1. Gee Linda. terra cotta toad houses sounds like a good thing. I’ll have to see about getting a couple if they are not too expensive. My daughter loves the toads and frogs too so I really want to get her one. Thanks for the info.

        Yes, I turned off the comments. I can’t keep up. Not with the way I feel at this time. But I do want to get lots more pet info on my blog and not trying to keep up with comments helps me to have a bit more energy. :-)

        1. Wise woman, to keep some of that energy for yourself.

          Some of the toad houses can be up to a hundred dollars. We don’t care about those. Other, plain terra cotta ones can be ten dollars. But the best thing I found is this site, which shows how to use plain terra cotta flower pots, and gives some tips on how to decorate (if you like) and how to put them in place.

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