Thursday, August 16, 2012

Corroboree Frog by Michael D Breen

Corroboree Frog                 

You were in the snow grass; not your usual world,
Perhaps you moved to flee the heat of my campfire,
As I tried to pick you up, you burrowed down
I followed and held you in my hand.

My heart filled with admiration of your form
Your shiny wetsuit striped in glistening gold
Or like some animated liquorice allsort
With ripples of black separating yellow stripes.

Your firm little body trembled on my hand
You could not sense the love and care I felt for you
Survivor of the snow, descendant of other survivors
Whose peers were flattened by some hoof.

Generations of your relatives were rubbed out
By feet of stockmen’s horses as they drank
Or feet of his stock who slaked their thirst
From your public house pond.

Then all at once you leapt and landed in my mug of tea.
So tragic, so idiotic a fall to land beside a lowly teabag.
Horrified I saw you stiffly spread-outstretched limbs
Frozen in your last pose, your wide mouth screaming, silently.

“Maybe he’s not dead”, my friend suggested.
But you were; you are except in these poor lines
I flung you out of my sight, like a murderer
Disposing of his handiwork.

Had you not been so rare, so beautiful you would have lived
We humans ruin celebrities and those of talent
Professional musicians and poets drown in the drink of admirers
The radiant are quenched by the cold demands on their rare fires.

Michael D. Breen       May 1980

Corroboree frogs are two species of small, ground dwelling frogs, native to
Southern Tablelands of Australia. They are only found  in a small area of south-eastern
New South Wales.

Only a few hundred Corroboree Frogs remain and their numbers are dwindling fast. In
 2001, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed the Southern Corroboree Frog to be Australia's most endangered frog. The Australian Government lists
 its status as Critically Endangered - the highest rating of endangerment available. .Project Cooroboree is an attempt to save this endangered species

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