dVerse — Poetics 434 — Croaked

Frog King

Once upon a Spring…
Penny did her usual afternoon
stroll in the forest;
crocus and lily-of-the-valley
perfumed the trail.

Birds sang from treetops;
spring peepers called from the pond.
Inhaling deeply and sighing,
Penny felt a contentment
she could only find at this time of the year.

Lost in her thoughts, she
heard the loud croak of a bullfrog.

Penny!,” it croaked.

Penny!”

Seven times the bullfrog croaked.
Each time Penny stepped towards it.

Penny found herself at the edge
of an artesian pond hemmed with violets.
A green streak leapt into the water.
Kneeling down, she put her face close
to the clear, bubbling pool.

Catching a rippled gleam, she gasped
to see a bullfrog with a crown upon his head.

As their eyes met, the frog said,
Penny, you’ve read a million fairy tales
about frogs who are enchanted princes.
I’m not one of them.
I was born and raised a frog.

I must be dreaming!”

You’re not – pinch yourself and see.”

(She did and it hurt.)

My crown is a golden ring I found in the creek
when I went minnow-hunting one afternoon.
It fits perfectly and sets me apart from the other frogs,
especially come mating season.”

But how can you speak to me from underwater?”

Well, Penny, I’m not really talking out loud.
I’m communicating directly with your mind.
Frogs have had to adapt to survive
in an increasingly hostile environment.
Our breeding grounds are drying up
and too many have been bulldozed
to make way for strip malls
and housing developments.
The Maker must have felt sorry for us
and so bestowed us with mind-reading
and telepathic communication abilities.”

Penny thought: I know I’m dreaming now!

No, my dear, you’re very much awake —
but not for long, I fear.
Tadpoles get so very hungry in the Spring.
As humans have wiped out so many species of fish,
the minnows are no longer enough.
It’s been a pleasure talking with you, Penny.
Sleep well.”

The frogs’ other bestowment
from The Maker
was a very long tongue
with a sleep barb on the end.
It shot out and hit Penny’s carotid.
She, asleep, tumbled into the crystal clear water.

The tadpoles ate well that year.

 

This is a poemitization of a story I wrote. You can find the story here.

Sanaa is today’s host for dVerse‘ Poetics. Sanaa says:
For today’s Poetics, I would like you to write a Gothic poem and explore the question: “Which according to you are the deepest, darkest and most concealed of human emotions?”

53 Comments Add yours

  1. merrildsmith says:

    Oh my! Brilliant! This is definitely a unique take on the prompt. I love it! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Merril. It seemed fittingly gothic enough to use for this prompt 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was so very clever … I shouldn’t have laughed, but I have to admit that I did… poor Penny.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      The best gothic stories hold me between hysterical laughter and screaming. Glad you felt it one way or another 🙂

      Like

  3. sanaarizvi says:

    This is such a scrumptious tale, Lisa! 😀 I agree, a wonderful response to the prompt. I love it 💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you enjoyed my gothic fairy tale, Sanaa 🙂

      Like

  4. What a very satisfying story! I can hear the audience applause from here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, Jane. I was thinking about Sanaa’s question of deepest hidden emotions. That humans will be wiped out for their offenses has to be one of my greatest fears.

      Like

      1. I can’t imagine we’ll be wiped out. Well, people like you and I will be, but not the great of this world. I doubt frogs will have a chance to take revenge, but it’s a great idea!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Who thought a tiny organism wearing a crown could take out so many 😉 It ain’t going to be bombs that do us in.

          Like

          1. I think you’re right. I didn’t get the corona analogy until you spelt it out. I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              It wasn’t meant as a corona analogy, but now that you mention it….!

              Like

              1. Oh, I thought when you said such a tiny organism you meant a virus. Happy coincidence then!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. msjadeli says:

                  lol the more we bounce this back and forth the muddier it gets. I did mean the tiny organism to be a covid analogy, but I did not mean the story to be one. Hoping that clears the mud?

                  Like

  5. Lucy says:

    “Tadpoles get so very hungry in the Spring.
    As humans have wiped out so many species of fish,
    the minnows are no longer enough.
    It’s been a pleasure talking with you, Penny.
    Sleep well.””

    (⊙_⊙) <– My face when reading that stanza.

    I should have known when it starts out all happy and content, it only ends in tragedy. 'Tis the tale of a gothic poem, why should I be mistaken?

    Jokes aside, I LOVED this piece. The way you spun a story-like take with the prompt–that was genius. I think some underlying themes here can include the symbolism of man versus nature, the act of disturbance that humans caused, payback is considered "justified" from the animals whose habitats have been destroyed, or don't trust talking animals OR even put your face near water that only God knows what's been in there…

    I loved this prose-poem. It's very evocative and it twists the narrative on how humans do destroy habitats, the animals mark their revenge. Very intriguing and chilling!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you enjoyed the story. It’s everything you say it is. Do we blame the Maker for arming them for revenge? Do we blame the Maker for making humans with such capacity for destruction? Thank you for your comments, Lucy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved your fairy tale with a message and then that shocking ending! A wonderful story/poem Lisa🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Christine 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ingrid says:

    Wow, this is a great story, Lisa! The Frog Prince turned bad: but can we blame him? Like he says, the tadpoles have to eat…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Well-said, Ingrid. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beverly Crawford says:

    Well, what a dastardly end! A great story that held our attention to the very end.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Beverly!

      Like

  9. Glenn A. Buttkus says:

    I love a dialogue poem, especially one that beams as a Gothic fable, a dark morality tale. Never trust a frog that wears a crown. But I must say, tis a pity poor Penelope had to be sacrificed for the folly and greed of others.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glenn, thank you for your glowing words. Yes it is a pity that the innocent always suffer from the acts of the wicked 😦

      Like

  10. Ron. says:

    Lightest dark tale (or vice-versa?) I’ve read in quite a while. Well told, Lisa. Esp loved the sleep barb and the well-fed tadpoles.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Ron 🙂

      Like

  11. memadtwo says:

    Laughing and grimacing at the same time….(k)

    Liked by 2 people

  12. robtkistner says:

    Tranced by a bull frog. Consumed by tadpoles, oh the horror Lisa. Strong piece!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you liked it, thank you, Rob!

      Like

  13. Grace says:

    This is a very good story, though the ending is sad for Penny, but not for the tadpoles. Really enjoyed the twisted tale!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Grace, thank you.

      Like

  14. -Eugenia says:

    The twist at the end is stellar! Poor Penny is too trusting – seems there is a message in your piece?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I see the message as nature will survive, but we might not. Some fairy tales just don’t have a happy ending is another message I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. yeah… and the best part is that I knew there had to be a twist because this was s’psoed to be a “gothic” poem.

      well done, Lisa!

      -David

      Liked by 2 people

      1. msjadeli says:

        Thank you, David.

        Like

  15. Sadje says:

    An idyllic beginning and a sad end, at least for Penny.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      He’s not exactly Kermit is he.

      Like

  16. Chris Hall says:

    Wonderful, Li. I really didn’t see that coming… and just as I thought I might just go and have a chat to the frogs in my pond 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      lol As long as they aren’t wearing crowns, you should be fine 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh my gosh- I had NO idea where this was going! I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      So glad it kept you guessing, Linda 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Knowing this was gothic, the light-hearted voice had me suspicious of everything in the beginning, but the ending brings home the message that turnabout is fair play and just “As humans have wiped out so many species of fish” nature and the Maker could change the rules and put humanity at the bottom of the food chain and the pond! This was an unexpected and scary demise for Penny! 😱

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yep, those gothic stories always start out so innocent don’t they. Thank you very much for reading and your thoughtful comment, Tricia.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So very welcome 🍷

        Liked by 1 person

  19. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    At least the tadpoles are doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow! Light to dark night!

    Liked by 1 person

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