Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"What a Wonderful Bird the Frog Are" - Anonymous

I first heard this poem from a shipmate aboard the USNS Jupiter in 1981. Mr. Eldridge had been at sea for 45 years at the time. He was an octoroon; meaning that he was one eighth of African descent. In Louisiana that was the legal demarcation between being white, or black.

Like most sailors of the time; an age before DVD’s and I-Pods; sailors were among the most well-read of individuals, having ample time to read while at sea. This poem is one of many which we used to exchange of an evening, sitting on watch, or just chewing the fat on the quarterdeck. I loved it the moment he recited it, and I still do today.

Little things go a long way, and I have never forgotten Mr. Eldridge; we were after all; roommates on 2 ships, and shipmates on still one other vessel. We spent the better part of 3 years in one another’s constant company; at times each saving the other from the serious injuries attendant to life aboard ship.

I wish I had a picture of Eldridge, but that is something he did not allow. His picture was part of his soul, and I believe he wanted to go stand before the Lord fully intact. No matter, every time I see a frog; like this one on our patio; I hear this poem and see Eldrige's face, clear as crystal. A poem is a gift that never dies, and the memory of the man that went with it will also live forever in my heart. Thanks Sylvester…

“What a Wonderful Bird the Frog Are” - Anonymous

What a wonderful bird the frog are
When he stand he sit almost;
When he hop he fly almost.
He ain't got no sense hardly;
He ain't got no tail hardly either.
When he sit, he sit on what he ain't got almost.

No comments:

Post a Comment