Wandering Through Thinsbury Forest, poem by Joel Morgan

      Storms swept me from paradise
      My stagnant lily pond
      I was told that good Queen Cape
      Lived in a pond beyond

      She will return me, I was told
      To the place where I come from
      She is a piper wise and fair
      Who shades beneath a leafy palm

      Though I had never seen her
      Legends of her charm spring air
      Her legendary wisdom leads
      And honest sprites earn her care

      I hopped along a golden road
      In oversized ruby clogs
      The Bunk & Belly Inn I was told
      Was a place a frog could lodge

      I hopped along that golden road
      Exhausted by my lonesome quest
      Stiffly I must trudge ahead
      Till I was home I could not rest

      On the first leg of my cheerless trip
      I crossed a lively ape
      Who was leaping to and fro
      Searching after good Queen Cape

      “Will you go with me,” I asked
      When he finally settled still
      “No you silly frog,” he said
      “You will become road kill.”

      “I will swing my way through trees
      To the Bunk & Belly Inn
      You hop on down that road poor frog
      I doubt our paths will cross again.”

      I watched him swing quickly through trees
      How I envied that monkey’s grin
      If I could climb the highest tree
      Perhaps I could see home again

      Hop along I did awhile
      I was not to be undone
      Tiresome was my grounded route
      But I would complete the task begun

      My pollywogs relied on me
      They must surely miss me now
      On ruby clogs I hanged my hope
      I would overcome somehow

      Soon I saw a stately raven
      With glasses on his eyes
      He made a feast of blueberries
      While I wolfed down fruit flies

      “Do you know the way,” I croaked
      “To the Bunk & Belly Inn?
      I cannot find my own way home
      To my pleasant darkened fen.”

      “What you need, my marshy friend
      Are specks to help you see
      Trade me for your ruby clogs
      And these glasses I will give to thee.”

      “Lord above! They look cheap on you
      Why they are bigger than your head
      Senseless they are! Tacky trifles
      And your green hide clashes with red.”

      I thought a moment then looked about
      My eyes could see just fine
      There was no other blackbird hatched
      With such a scheming line

      “I take your insults most unkindly
      You contemptible black bird
      Just stretch your wing, point the way
      And you could save me with a word.”

      “Save yourself you tasteless frog,”
      Said the raven as he flew.
      “I see good Queen Cape from here
      Give up those clogs, you can see her too.”

      I sighed awhile as I hopped on
      The Raven’s beak had a sting
      Perhaps if we had struck a deal
      I would instead have cause to sing

      Swamp raiders sucked my quagmire dry
      And left me but these clogs
      I once swore that when I died
      I’d leave them to my pollywogs

      They were red and shiny
      And they seemed to know the way
      Perhaps if I trusted them whole
      They would lead me home today

      Positive thinking eased distress
      Thus, I quickened up my stride
      I inched along toward my goal
      “Give me strength oh lord,” I cried

      Shortly out there popped a hare
      And a turtle in a rush
      When they spied my ruby clogs
      Their laughter made me blush

      “What a peculiar frog you are
      To wear such silly shoes
      If you were in this race with us
      You would be the first to lose.”

      “You must not be from these parts
      Here bats and owls feed all day
      I would be loath to see you spread
      Upon their weekend dinner tray.”

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Diane Payne