This is one of the ten poems that my mother made etchings for, the year I was just done with college. 1983-4. I wanted to write, but had no idea what to do with the poems that I was writing. My mother Helen Burling Ottaway had done a series of etchings with a family friend’s poems, so I asked if she would do the same with me. She said, “Yes, on one condition.” “What is that?” “They have to rhyme.” She did not like the free verse. Almost all of the poems were about animals, except for one about my sister. Another friend printed the poems on a lead type press and then my mother worked on editions numbered 1-50 of each, inking the plate separately for each one. This one is number 5/50. You can see the imprint of the plate on the paper in the photograph.
If I could be anything I’ll tell you what I’d like to be One of those small green frogs That sails from tree to tree
These frogs can jump, they have no laps They are not birds with wings the have parachutes between their toes And I am sure that they can sing
They spread their toes and jump so high To float like snowflakes in the air Frogs fall like rain from clear blue skies It must be nice up there
Why they jump I do not know Maybe escaping hungry eyes Perhaps to catch a tender bug Or they just like to fly
If I could be anything I’ll tell you what I’d like to be One of those small green frogs That sails from tree to tree.
This is the final poem in my Falling Angels Dream Poetry series.
Some people say there are
Angels among us
I have faith in birds I search for a nest Hummingbird nest the size of a nut tiny, lined with spiderwebs I love the herons too great blue heron flying lands in a tree above me I look through my mechanical eye zoom in click click and there is another at the tree top two in a tree I move around and there – one drops down one flies I am not distracted a nest a six foot nest blessed I move away gently
I wander back by the tree gently in the morning in the evening not one not two two in this tree two in that one in another as many as five in a tree six foot wing spans a rookery of winged beings
angels among us and why would we think they would look like us?
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