21 April 2015

Spring-Sticky Greens - Missoula, Montana

My gardening-genius sister of the far northern city has been collecting aged horse manure after work - trowel scoop by trowel scoop, into large plastic bags carefully placed in her car trunk. (Yes, with patience being a virtue and all, she’s got a head start toward saintliness of some sort.) Last week, she texted something about metaphorical teaspoons and a photo of a sunset-silhouetted mountain of manure, with her comparatively teeny tiny car in the foreground. Her garden’s really going to be great this year.

Today she texted that our horse-whispering cousin’s new acreage has "singing frogs in the slough, ribbet ribbet",  (insert happy froggy emoticon) which made me think firstly, ’It’s such a Canadian thing to have fond thoughts of a slough.’ And nextly, ‘Surely, there exists a Canadian ode to spring-singing slough frogs?!’

Thoughts such as this are why Google is my Home screen.

I discovered that Lord de Tabley wrote, according to ‘The Living Age, Volume 270’, “…a charming set of interlinked sonnets to the frogs that sing unceasingly from early spring to harvest-time in every lake and pond and secret slough from end to end of Canada.“ Here’s my favourite find; may your very own memory spring to mind.

“Wrinkled oaks and plumy bracken,
Milkwort, skull-cap, sweet gale-bush,

Frog-pipe, more than you can reckon,
Cotton grass and flowering rush…”
- from ‘The Dirge of Day’, Lord de Tabley (1835-1895)


  1. :) Ah, yes!
    and thank-you again for finding more great poetry for us to enjoy! I remember asking my mother when I was very little, 'what is that sound, mama?' and she replied, those are the spring-peepers and when we hear them we know spring is here!'

    1. The Canadian farm-child's spring lullaby!
      What a very precious memory - I can envision your wee, cherubic face, framed by golden ringlets, perhaps.
      Thank you for sharing.

  2. Memories of my Canadian childhood. Sloughs were fodder for inquiring young minds. Shall we Google for an ode to the never-ending-dusk.

    1. Ahhh, nothing quite like a Canadian prairie sunset, silhouetting the windbreak poplars. I like your phrasing: never-ending dusk.


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