Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY


July 5, 2014

COLUMN: Love of words involves more than human kind

All of my life, I have been a reader and lover of words. As a child, I memorized all of the books my mother would read to me, and when she would try to deviate from the original story, I would call her out and immediately correct her on the right way the story was written and meant to be read.

Perhaps this love of books and the written word contributed to my affinity for writing early in my life. When we were younger, my older brother, sister and I would have to write reports when we misbehaved about what we had done wrong, what our punishment should be, how not to make the same mistakes in the future, etc. It wasn't long before my parents learned that this wasn't an appropriate punishment for me because I actually enjoyed writing. My siblings even learned to employ me to write their reports from time to time.

As an adult, I am fortunate to write for a living, but I also write and read for pleasure daily. I find myself mulling multiple books at once: three different collections of short stories, or a few volumes of poetry at any given time. At first, my reading aloud Walt Whitman or Pablo Neruda startled my dog, Frank, but he eventually grew to love the cadence of words, rolling through me and into our evenings like a soft ribbon curling the air.

While I prefer written and spoken words, I have to say my favorite kinds of poems are frog poems.

Outside the Daily Times office, I've grown accustomed to what I have learned are the deep hums of an American bullfrog. When the sun goes down, I can always hear a few of them having their conversation about mates, perhaps the humidity, or what it feels like to be a bullfrog in small pond in the commonwealth. Near my apartment, there live a few cope's gray treefrogs, their trill a little higher and longer than the bullfrogs; more erratic and excited, as if they have something terribly important to communicate to one another, and often.

For as long as I can remember, Kentucky summers will always be synonymous with the frogspeak of fields, creeks, woods or even a front yard ditch. Sometimes I've been lucky enough to catch one, or a jarful of tadpoles, but usually I would just lie down and listen to their hum, buzz, belch or bark, spoken in their low and slow grumble to whomever was near enough to hear.

Ah, I admire the greats of course: T.S. Eliot, William Wordsworth and Margaret Atwood...

But the frogs are my favorite. Eyes closed, laid back in summer grass, their swell of speech back and forth, so consistent you could maybe even mark time.

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