Reading the frog economy

P. S. Cottier


So if frogs were currency, I grew up in a time of wealth. We’d pour dozens of lively taddies into buckets; little ones like commas in the rich brown pages of the ponds, betwixters sprouting legs like exclamation marks, and the fat copper adults. They weren’t like rare coins back then when I were a lass, they were just as common as two cent pieces; nursery rhyme familiars. Every suburban bog housed their evening pukpuks of attraction, their sudden bursts of swim.

Ah, but since then, since that once upon a time, it’s been a real bear market for the frog economy. We’ve cleansed the ponds of amphibious poetry. Soft bodies, splayed feet are not a good bet on the futures exchange; I’d invest in bottled, pure water if I were you. Read the labels: Guaranteed to contain no frog (music or body or magical transformation or splash! or the foaming floating islands of egg).

In my memory I flick every rock and find a frog deposit. We’d withdraw them with no worry; take them home in triumphant ice-cream containers, a whole Europe of minor Princes carried by a court of pesky kids. Now a child blessed with luck might be shown a frog as if it were formed from a weak and discoloured gold; about to melt away, first legs, then body. See that children? That’s a frog. No kissing, please.


P. S. Cottier lives in Canberra. Her pocket book Paths Into Inner Canberra describes a bike ride through the city, and the wildlife near Parliament House. On Tuesdays she usually posts a new poem at, often about nature, monsters, or both.

Listen to an interview with P. S. Cottier at Verity La, and hear her read this poem.

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