Words written to a friend of mine, still full of shame, fifty years after killing a bullfrog for his legs…

When it comes to hurting frogs, I’m afraid you stand in my shadow. Your story brings back a flood of memories of what we did to them in Texas, in the 1950’s. All terrible. One reason I feel I am coming to the end of being a human is that I feel humanity as a single entity, apart from myself. I am one of you but more like a ghost, dead and done, even if I live another thirty years or thirty life times.

We’re a brave and a sad and a transcendent bunch. We go lower than worms and equally as high. Sometimes I feel myself holding all the suffering in my arms, saying, “It will be alright.” I know we will be all right, the hateful and the noble things we have done let go of and forgotten. If I had grandchildren, I would want them to know this, that no matter how high we rise or how low we fall, in the end it never happened. That’s the kind of thing a child can accept and be glad of.

This picture doesn’t really go with the words I have written here but I took this photograph on a day full of rain, down by the White Salmon River. I liked the weirdness of it. That bird had just been diving under white water, coming up, diving back down. Then he stood on that rock shaking the water off himself. That’s what we do.





  1. This poem makes me glad. I even watched the video which i dont usually do and i liked the mans face.
    We dont always know who we are until who we are not falls away. This poem is part of the pulling off of the conditioned mask so I say Shiva wrote it
    Thanks for noticing that bird shaking off. Im shaking off the idea of shaking off the body and opening to the light coming through a small crack im the relaxing of what i think i know. All along it turns out i was not afraid of the dark, i was afraid of the light.

  2. ” We go lower than worms…” Charlie this reminds me of the tears I shed each time I see fellow human beings turn on each other through hatred, racism, xenaphobia, misunderstanding, jealousy, fear etc. We are not meant to be on this earth forever. Continue to expose our shortcomings and sometimes celebrate what we can achieve…take care

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