Autumn Falls of Tree Frogs

A Cope’s gray tree frog Hyla chrysoscelis finds a circle of poets on October 18th in Fremont County, Iowa. (Photos by Robert Smith.)

When Autumn Falls of Tree Frogs*

Under Grandmother Oak a woman intones a poem too much for one voice

and making the rounds the stanzas, the kettling incantations, prayer wheels

mixed with birdsong call to earth an unbidden blessing so cold in ochre and

ash and underneath saffron not angel or even avian but one of amphibian

being. These glycerol-blooded creatures half-frozen do winter in rustles

and duff but sometimes sweet Hyla are warmed and adored when canopies

gather poets in autumn falls of tree frogs. 

*Becoming a Naturalist, Part 59. Prose-poem by Jack Phillips.