Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Some may not realize it, but April is National Poetry Month, and April 30 is Poem in Your Pocket Day. I heard about it this morning on the radio.

So rather than carrying a poem around in my pocket, I figured I'd share one here. But first, a little background.

When we were in the Adirondacks two weekends ago, there still was not a lot of evidence of Spring; the leaves weren't really out yet and the flowers weren't blooming as they already were down here in New Jersey. But the birds were singing, and I enjoyed hearing them, knowing that they were heralding the coming of Spring even before it was obvious to our eyes.

While we were over at our cabin in the afternoon, we started to hear this strange shrieking noise; it sounded like a bird. Then there were more of them, louder and louder. It was kind of eerie, but I just figured there was a flock of birds that I wasn't seeing, up in the trees somewhere.

As part of our afternoon's adventures, we finally drove the Jeep all the way to the end of the road that goes past our cabin. It's an unimproved gravel road that has not been maintained for many years. It is shown on maps as a Jeep trail. So we decided to prove that our Jeep was up for the challenge. We made it up and down every hill, rock and boulder that we came across with no problem. It was fun riding past areas we had never seen before since our car wouldn't have been able to make it through. But all along the deserted road, lined on either side with ponds, brush and trees, we heard the shrieking noise. It was really getting scary - like being inside an Alfred Hitchcock movie! And still I could see nothing that was making this noise.

We finally went back to the place we were staying and as I was sitting there I suddenly said "Spring Peepers!" DH looked at me as if I'd lost my mind. "Spring Peepers," I repeated. "That's what that noise was." He had never heard of Spring Peepers, but I had a vague memory of such a thing. I Googled it (thank goodness for Blackerries, as the cabin we were staying in has no wi fi) and sure enough, that's what they were. They are little frogs (only about an inch long!) that come out in the spring and make this amazing sound.

Here's a video I found that will let you hear what they sound like, plus the terrain is very similar to what we were driving past. (However, the road is in better shape than ours!)

Spring Peepers from Ali B on Vimeo.

So after all of this research I suddenly remembered this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay and now I finally understand what she meant by it.


I had forgotten how the frogs must sound
After a year of silence, else I think
I should not so have ventured forth alone
At dusk upon this unfrequented road.

I am waylaid by Beauty. Who will walk
Between me and the crying of the frogs?
Oh, savage Beauty, suffer me to pass,
That am a timid woman, on her way
From one house to another!

-Edna St. Vincent Millay


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Wow, that was something. We get frogs and/or toads here but nothing like that.

Love the Millay.

Bee said...

We get some "spring peepers" in the water garden in the front yard, too, but not so many. Cool! Sounds like a very fun weekend:)

Utah Savage said...

Oh how I love that poem. I may just have to post it on my sidebar. I'm so glad you can still hear the crying of the frogs. Next time walk that road. It sounds like an enchanted landscape.

Annette said...

Growing up in the midwest on a farm, I knew exactly what you

We had a pond not too far from the house and could hear them on spring nights when it was warm enough to have the windows open.. So I used to hear them as we went to sleep.. I guess that's why I have to have noise to sleep by

JollyRoger said...

Ah yes, poetry. Jolly Roger now tries his hand at a little haiku, in honor of National Poetry Month.

As Souter goes into that good night
Those without brains and without scruples
Prepare their revenge, for the President's budget

giggles said...

Oh my goodness... I hadn't seen or heard your post before I wrote mine.... I didn't mean to steal your (peeping) thunder!!

I guess in the spring, our minds turn to peepers!! I missed them for so long... It was good to check them out ...and actually SEE them!!

Fran said...

Wow~ that sound reminds me of the old star trek "space noises" tract they used.

Jeepers creepers- where'd you get those peepers?

Me said...

That vid was so cool! Here we get hummingbirds. Dozens and dozens of them. They will hover about an inch from your face when you're near "their" flowers or sugar/water feeders and I swear to you, that close, they sound like Blackhawk helicopters.

Magnificent poem, too! As Utah Savage said, it is worthy of a sidebar.

:)p.s. Sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed your mini-vacation.


Liz Hinds said...

That must have been scary but what a wonderfully appropriate poem.

Distributorcap said...

off topic

i did watch your spot
email me (you have the work one)

on topic

i think the last time i read edna was in high school

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