This Poem was Submitted By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2004-09-22 22:07:46 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Moving On

On the last day of summer I pile dead vines and withered flowers, then bend in search of living things. I raise the heavy planter  with care, holding a mouthful of air,  looking for a pair of frogs  who live under the pot. No spotted tenants return my startled stare with their iridescent eyes;  no throats of bottle green still throb beneath the flower tub, pulses  vivid in the sheltered spill  of darkness.  There's only a lonely pill bug with his silvered armor  and fringe of legs, antennae  flailing in alarm--most likely  excited by the sudden daylight flooding his musty lodgings. My ambivalence this autumn: relief that they’ve gone on-- and regret for an unexpected  absence of frogs.

Copyright © September 2004 Joanne M Uppendahl

This Poem was Critiqued By: Dellena Rovito On Date: 2004-10-10 20:24:35
Critiquer Rating During Critique: Unknown
Joanne, How poigant. Time moves on and we miss the ones we've known. Human/animal/whatever. I personally miss so many who have moved on. You are very thought filled. It's always calming to read your words. god bless you my friend Dellena

This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2004-10-04 21:38:17
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.91667
Joanne, this isn't a critique; I'm weary tonight and my words would become oatmeal. But this little poem - #50 on my list! - lured me to read it before sleep. It's delightful, and strikes me as being about something other than the two absent frogs. I think it is an oblique reference to your anticipated loss of the familiar. It reveals your sudden awareness that even small things can change, go away, be missed for what they have been or meant to us. Yet flux is a part of the universe. So is shaking off the trappings of the past - the dead plants from summer - so that all can be tidied and set in readiness for the next incarnation of blooms and tiny beasts. For me, this happens when the magnificently large spiders vanish after the first frosts. Their egg cases are scattered over my exterior siding and under the roof's overhang, abandoned by their departed parents in the hope of a new birth. There's a certain pathos in this; the adults can never see their own children, or even know whether they've succeeded in creating another generation. But I always end up with several fat, confident spiders clinging to my bedroom ceiling, with their webs stretched in the corners. There's one above my computer desk, in fact, just sort of hanging out. I never try to disturb them. They alone will make it into the warmer weather again, and might even live to see their children (which for all I know, they might find particularly tasty!). I know you're seriously contemplating a move to another area. Yet you have been rooted and grounded in your home, presumably for some years, so perhaps this poem is a bit of an advance letting-go. It is not the frogs who are moving on (or have done so); it is the speaker/poet, about to depart her comfortable territory and begin again to establish familiarity. She must set her pots in a new place and wait for the appropriate tenants to appear. How exciting! How terrifying! You will have your own egg cases to carry with you, and secure in a safe spot where they will re-establish your family unit in this new place. The absence of toads is a foretaste of grief, and also an acceptance that nothing can stay the same for long. I wiah you the very best of luck in finding that perfect home to which you can transfer your allegiance and hopes. You surely deserve it! Now you can tell me I'm way off the mark and should flop under my covers so my brain will rejuvenate! Brenda
This Poem was Critiqued By: Erzahl Leo M. Espino On Date: 2004-10-03 21:29:58
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.71429
Hi Joanne, I always love your storytelling, your observations...these are all natural in your writings...flawless if I (the reader) was there with you while this was happening…your simple but beautiful words captured that wonderful moments. Superb! My ambivalence this autumn: relief that they’ve gone on-- and regret for an unexpected absence of frogs. --- I like the presence of “dilemma” here...playful! This is like: “You will only know the value of that person when that person is gone”. I didn’t know that “frogs” can be sorely missed. :) But the way you write these topics with poise, elegance and class…for me this remains a mystery of your talent. Again, nice subjects...nice themes…nice metaphors…but most of all, I enjoyed the storytelling part. It gives me excitement on my reading. Again, you have proven your talent in writing. You are such a diverse poet. You can do anything in brilliance. Brava! As always, Erzhal :)
This Poem was Critiqued By: Karen Ann Jacobs On Date: 2004-10-02 23:58:08
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.57143
Dear Joanne, The end of summer, the moving on of warmer days, is so eloquently portrayed in this poem by a pair of adorable frogs. I’m reminded of a pair of frogs I bought at Target one year. They became my friends and lived much longer then the little card with their care said they should. Then, one summer, ants carried ant poison into their water and killed them. I was so sad. I’m glad your frogs moved on and weren’t born to captivity as mine where. It’s so wonderfully odd how we keep connecting. Hugs! Kay
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2004-09-25 21:33:55
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Hi Joanne! This is a bit self-centered of me, but your poem was published on my birthday and I feel like it's as great a present as I'll ever receive. The first day of fall has always been to me as your last stanza states. Exactly that, relief and regret. Another thing I relate to about your poem is the tile. There is a whole spectrum of what one can be "Moving On" from. I happened to write a poem titled "Moving On" in 2001. It is quite different from this celebration of the end of summer and beginning of Autumn. In fact mine was a pivotal moment for me. I was moving on from a life of sin and self destruction in the depths to find my belief in God. It was actually one of my first poems. I like yours much better!!! Although, I have to say that writting poetry is actually what led me out of the depths.So if I hadn't bothered I might still be there reliving my sins over and over. I apologize for going on about me when I'm here to comment on your lightly melancholy, yet hopeful poem. The first stanza sings with the rhyme of care/air/pair. I like your description of holding your b breath while checking for the "pair of frogs"--"holding a mouthful of air". Ahh but your description of the frogs is so delightful---"spotted tenants", "iridescent eyes", "throats of bottle green"(I know that exact shade!), I love the addition of throats/throb and sheltered/spill to the lovely sounds and descriptions of this piece. Then, "only a lonely pill bug" and the visual of the pill bug is perfect! The fricative "F"'s are wonderful here. lol, you blinded the little fella! And then of course that last stanza. Who could be anything but conflicted over the end of summer and the beginning of Autumn? I'm so there with you! I really enjoyed this read. It really hit me like a ton of bricks. Oh my goodness! Summer is gone again! Blessings, Jennifer
This Poem was Critiqued By: Mark Steven Scheffer On Date: 2004-09-23 16:42:39
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Joanne, I will not attempt to explain it, but the first stanza strikes me as one of the most amazing representations of "puttering around" in the peace of nature that i've ever read. On the last day of summer I pile dead vines and withered flowers, then bend in search of living things. I raise the heavy planter with care, holding a mouthful of air, looking for a pair of frogs who live under the pot. Wow. There is something about that word choice, some quality in those words (I think the diphtongs - flOWers, mOUthful, lOOking - and big, round o vowels, perhaps), that suggest a peacefulness and an ease in a lovely afternoon in the garden that . . . well, wow. Even though you are describing activity, I see a hammock with my name on it. But, then again, I'm always dreaming of hammocks with my name on it, 'cause in dreams is about as close as i'll come. Anyway, that first stanza struck me so. Definitely the o vowels and those big mouthfuls, i think. Remarkable effect. Mark
This Poem was Critiqued By: Tony P Spicuglia On Date: 2004-09-23 15:03:16
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Joanne, I will never see frogs quite as simply as ever before. How they interact with the metaphor of living and passing!! With the coming of autumn comes the resurgence and reappraisal of life, that good and that bad, and you have caught well the sudden daylight and musty lodgings of days past and maybe regret. The piling of dead vines, but searching for life, ah, how I know the feelings this evoke. And to end on ambivalence, lady, truly the "emotion" I consider my best friend. Love has brought me to pinnacles and sadness to the moment, but always there was the shadow presence of ambivalence that calls me to face one or turn away. Thank you lady, I will always look for the frogs from here on out. A truly beautiful piece. Tony
This Poem was Critiqued By: James Edward Schanne On Date: 2004-09-23 09:28:25
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.26923
Amphibians bugged out with summer largely eying the fall of the simmering vaporous daze within days green fading fast on breezes touching the coffee chilled on the morning breath smacks the caffeinated cheek with kisses of understanding that I do not understand Oh well, I felt inspired by your poem, thanks for letting me read and comment.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Wanda S. Thibodeaux On Date: 2004-09-23 07:53:51
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.92308
Dear Joanne, Perfect Fall piece. Here, in the swamps tho, it's tree roaches that nest beneath flower pots. Even frogs don't like them. This inspires me to go out and clean mine for bringing in. Some are too large to move now and we have to wrap them in plastic. I'm always marveled at your oneness with nature. I like to think of myself like that. My mother was a wonder when it came to animals, 12 children, etc. I especially like the idea that you raised the pot in search of a pair of frogs, and that you were disappointed to find they had moved on. I read the first version and liked it also. I think the poem is deserving of a more animated title, although I know where 'Moving On' is coming from after reading the poem, it was not obvious to me at first. In the first stanza, I would remove the line, "holding a mouthful of air." For me, it takes away the mystery in "I raise the heavy planter with care." I love the poem, please don't think I am finding fault. There is never fault with your work, these are just thoughts I had while reading. Best always, Wanda
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