The Innocence of the Frog

The world of fire divides
into world of light
into world of rock
into world of community
all in the word.

and world of faith
and world of monument
and world of division

Take the hammer of word to this stone
split the shale's back
until her cloven fragments lie upon the table
reading fish bone, fish scale,
traceries of bony fin
black residues of an ambiguous reality
symbols for an inserted world.

Next the hammerhead of spring rain
its word summoning the sleeping frog up
out of rest in baked earth.
Waking, settled into this reality
the frog round as rain or hammerhead
waits in silence. Slotted eyes survey
patient as noon.

Listen down the divide and to its echoes:
The frog yields to motion
Flowers from stone
    salt becoming crystal
    brilliant is the crystal
    crystals elaborate
a natural beauty crystal serves

fossil cannot move
flowering turned stone
savior becomes stone
mantled in stone
the stone towering over
above a stony absolution

Not so innocent is our knowledge
of fossil and frog.
Struck upwards our Madonna rises from ashes
toward ashes a phoenix of stone
feathered in carved garments.
The two seducing youths, mother, son
beckon from their supporting pillar
the capital chiseled in ominous overmastery.
Oh! Do not doubt for the living fire pulls.

The frog spurns yesterday
the dancing flies on the pond
the spider stripped from a blade of grass
are irrelevant in their singularity
will not be celebrated in carved image
for the frog knows nothing of idols incantations
nor meanings burned
into ancient configurations
of winter stars.

Motion is perilous in this world.
Do not move! Stay still as Madonnas
still as the stone the fish in shale.
No crystalline beauty moves the frog's eye
to higher purpose colors serve his tongue only
his throat bulges with lust in midnight air.

These are his calls, and there the echoes
All here are beautiful
The beauty is in the reality
The real need no symbols
The frog enters earth
    and lives on
receiving light always

This beauty is all
All beauty is the symbol
Symbols feed on reality
The fossil enters air
    and disintegrates
here eternal fury

Rock melts at the center flows outward
and thus exhumed will take new form
river its message of change.
Cold fire settles within its crystals.
Fragments unite and the word alters
seeks out a new understanding.

Touched by molten lava's flow
a lone tree darkens
blazes and is borne under.
But the frog endures
ignorant as cloud and thunderclap
while the phoenix fallen
has ended its cycle

Certain as the word echoes
Nature forms
The frog

Man forms
Hammered stone

Is the word.

© 1997 Jess Morton