Scene4-International Magazine of Arts and Culture

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Ode to the Frogs

Renate Stendhal

Most nights I sit in bed reading, the door open to the garden, the wetlands, the hills.

A part of me is pulled outside into the night by the concert at the pond. After the first big spring rain, it’s the Wagnerian chorus of a hundred voices, deafening and thrilling. We are ecstatic. We hold hands in the hot tub and recite:

Welcome back Herr Frosch

You wear your Macintosch

You’re looking mighty posh

Oh gosh, Herr Frosch

When the rains have stopped it’s the romantic orchestra with half the players, but there is still urgency in May. There is chirping and harping and trilling and piping. Repeat. Repeat with passion.

Then the pond begins to dry out. In June, a solo flute plays, pauses. Other soloists join in for a chamber concert, a trio, a quartet, filling the night with adventure and longing remembered. Sometimes the solo begins again, waits for another, calls, calls up I don’t know what lonely mood that I would like to fall asleep to. But sleep demands that I shut off my audio and shut out the night.

Now the night is empty, the pond far, unreachable. Every night I fall a little, as I put my book away, drop off my hearing aids, pull on my sleeping mask. Resentful like a child left out, no lullaby, I lie awake. My mind goes round and round. I’m getting old, Herr Frosch. Oh gosh.

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Scene4 Magazine - Renate Stendhal

Renate Stendhal, Ph.D. ( is a writer, writing coach and interpersonal counselor based in San Francisco and Pt. Reyes. She has published several books, among them the award-winning photo biography Gertrude Stein in Words and Pictures, and most recently the award-winning Kiss Me Again, Paris: A Memoir. Her articles and essays have appeared intenationally. She is a Senior Writer for Scene4. For her other reviews and articles:, check the Archives.

©2019 Renate Stendhal
©2019 Publication Scene4 Magazine


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July 2019

Volume 20 Issue 2

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