A Frog House Poetry Contest Winners 2021

Frog prince

by Purbasha Roy

I wanted to be the frog prince
waiting for my lady-love to come and kiss
and till then I would jump on lotus leaves
and take my long tongue out
for many tiny winged things
and gulp down making merry
my brown body camouflaging brown earth
my blue eyes called by my friends toads, salamanders
the blinking blues attracts butterflies
for they imagine me as scrap of skies
I would make a felled tree my cosy froghouse
there would be no spoilers in my story
climate-crisis and deforestation
whole night I would sing my heart out
and the glowworms would make theatre lights
all around, as I would sing odes for trees
Winds and waters, and they shall understand
I am there, friend with long jumping legs
when the skies shall rain angel tears I would
curl my tender body beneath mushrooms
and take music lessons from nature’s sounds
and when day shall come like newspaper boy
each dawn I would lie down for a good sleep
in my frog house, decorated with moss, mildew
and which trespasser shall know my whereabouts
I would be a sweet frog lost in a lost lost universe
all this happened when I dreamt of a pet frog
to which my parents never nodded heads in yes

Frog Songs

by Joan Leotta

Frog sits on my windowpane
to watch tv with us
singing with the talent shows,
except on nights it rains.
Those nights he remains
settled at the edge
of our drainpipe with his friends,
in his frog house.
As water flows down,
over them, they breathe deeply
and let loose a
serenade, a song
that flows until rain ends.
So many songs
to the tune of summer rains.
My frogs sing of birds and flowers
of clean water, clean air
of swamp lilies, tall grass,
gators, turtles, snakes, and fish.
Before the cold
sending them into hiding
I hear, in their last summer songs,
a charge to me for to keep
watch, so when spring returns
they will find the world
ready for new melodies,
ready to enjoy together
from the window and
through his songs.

Rise and Fall of the Turtle Tide in My Backyard Pond

by Joan Leotta

Sunrise lures them
out of the pond.
Silently, they line up
along the lower
part of the bank,
heads in shells
when sun is highest.
Then, when sun retreats,
moving in unison,
they roll slowly
back into the pond
to the chorus of frog
songs coming from
the pampas grass.
I picture each one
standing at the front door
Of his frog house,
Waving farewell to the turtles.

Amphibian Paradise

by Evie Groch

Just before dusk, the choir starts.
Children from the block
gather on our upward-sloped front lawn,
the most unmanicured and largest
one in the neighborhood,
our house set back many yards
from the sidewalk
where low grasses and tiny shrubs
populate the ground.
We gather to play Three-Feet-Off-The-
Mud-Gutter, and while we play we
hear the croaks of wildlife in our midst.
Like popcorn, one croak pops up,
then another, then a cacophony
joins in. Frogs? Toads?
We never found a Frog House,
saw only one or two gentle creatures,
with smiling faces, slender legs,
glistening bodies, offering acapella choruses.
Love them, appreciate them, said my parents.
You’re lucky to have them in your life.
I believed them and have championed
biodiversity ever since.

Canary Frog

by Evie Groch

You’re famous in Calaveras
jumping for joy and jostling to win,
in France, for your beautiful legs
plated with finesse,
on Sesame Street as Kermit
who knows it’s not easy being green,
in literature, as Toad’s trusty mate,
in music, as Jeremiah, the bullfrog,
in the comics, as Picayune in Pogo,
in mythology, as Heqet and Kek.

I shall build for you Frogilos, a Frog House
for each and every one, and when you
step out of it, nature will herald you, display
you in a heavenly light, appreciate your
vibrant colors, almost neon,
credit you for longevity, disease
and pain control, hail you as a canary
in the mine of our environment.

You are prey, offering yourself up to fowl,
fish, and snakes.
You are predator taking out insects,
mosquitos and their larvae.
All that from a frog, a magical frog.

We, the stewards of the planet,
salute you as you challenge biologists,
evolutionists, pathologists to secure for you
a safe haven, one in which your breeding
can continue as you serve as caricatures
for media, verse, mythology, and a world
hopping with hope and hindsight.


by Karla Linn Merrifield

The two ponds shady
behind my father’s house,
behind honeysuckle wall,
beyond June’s peonies,
beckoned my rosy escapes,
beckoned my wildish trespass.
The two ponds’ tadpoles
beneath lily pads,
beneath willow leaves,
beneath their shadows,
beneath the eighth summer sky
swam toward metamorphosis,
swam toward breaths of fresh air
in a frog’s house of warm mud.
The twin ponds grew
a frog or two or many more,
grew an impish prince or two or
as high as I could cipher,
before my widened eyes
before the kiss
of a dream or two or—.

Tanka Diptych from a Frog’s House

by Karla Linn Merrifield

  1. Brockport Étude by Waning Gibbous Moon

Crickets, katydids
the maracas of August
leopard frogs on vibes
a little live night music
from wild old fairy’s woodland

  1. Sylvan
    Season’s end sizzles;
    cicadas and katydids
    signal September.
    Wood frog percussionistas
    drum gold summer’s finale


by Michele Brown

at great length
damp breezes soughed
possibilities probabilities laden
clear air furrows
through a frog’s house
freshening grass rustlers
toad toddling toward spider’s web
now hunted


by Michele Brown

in a frog’s house, we listen
breathing deep
eastern tree frogs peep
echo peeping
jays, robins, crows all call
others unnamed unseen
boys walking gravel boat ramp
swinging withies slapping water
gravel plonking random notes
still water ripples quickly end
skipped-rock plonks
echo frog’s leap


by David White

For A. B. G. (1)

We live in a state of plutocratic anarchy. (2)
We pray for the return of the law of love. (3)
And the hegemony of conscientious anarchism. (4)
Religions do not live by the law of love they preach.(5)
Governments do not protect freedom.(6)
Wars do not provide security.(7)
Frogs, at least, croak a call to action,
But before long they retire to their comfy Frog House.(8)
Anyone can croak a call to action, (9a)
The question is will anyone jump to the call? (9b)
Just because Christianity has failed as a religion.(10)
And democracy has failed as politics.(11)
Does not mean that humanity has failed.
As a form of life.(12)
If frogs ruled the Earth, would we all be better off?
Perhaps a tad better, but the fact remains our enormous appetite, (13)
totaling billions of frogs every year,
is contributing to frog extinctions around the world. (14)


by David White

*COUNTERCLOCKWISE image from Orwell, Bp Butler’s “nations go insane”
For A. B. G. Artists’ Breakfast Group
plutocratic anarchy Geoffrey Hill from William Morris
law of love Biblical Great Commandment
conscientious anarchism ahimsa
law of love they preach = equality
protect freedom = liberty
security = safe passage in life
Frog House. In Pittsford, NY
Anyone can croak … will anyone jump after Shakespeare
Christianity has failed as a religion. According to Bp William George Burrill
And democracy has failed as politics. E.g., Exclusions from the Declaration of Independence
(12) form of life Wittgenstein’s Labensform
(13) enormous appetite luxury fever
(14) extinctions in course and constitution of nature


When in Florida, I Visit the Kingdom of Charmed Lives

by Karla Linn Merrifield

By day, welcome elliptically-winged zebra
butterflies flicker quick shadows across my arms;
by night, creatures of the new moon in varied dark
manner commune: horned owl, cricket, tree frog,
pig frog— hoot hoot hoot
chirrrrrrrrr chirrrrrrrrr thrum-thrum
twang-twang— in unison from a frog’s leafy house.
They prepare me for the arrival of armadillos,
angels of the Cenozoic, the Aztec’s turtle-rabbit
of footfall crackle, sand snuffle, whisper, snort.
Lo, my enchanted Dasypus novemcintus appears.
No, not the screaming hairy armadillo,
not the pink fairy armadillo,
but mine own nine-banded armadillo granting
her nine warm-blooded Caloosahatchee wishes.
My first: a sip at the fountain of youth for her kind,
to cure their leprosy, Ponce’s curse since 1513.
May your armor be charmed nine times over.