Frogspawn
by Ryan Ormonde

(a) I was thinking about the frogspawn we saw in that little community garden in Cricklewood.

(b) The appearance of frogspawn is an event that might be described as a real life version of Rupert and the Frog Song (1984).

 

(c) Pipaluk was born in London Zoo on 1st December 1967 and will live there until 1985. To escape the bear enclosure in Mappin Terraces, Pipaluk would have to cross a dry ditch and climb over spiky slate parapets.

 

(d) London Zoo is located 3.3 miles from Mapesbury Dell in Cricklewood, which was officially opened on 4th November 2005 by conservationist and actor Bill Oddie.

 

(e) Polar bears are able to detect [frogs] from nearly one mile away and buried under three feet of snow.

 

(f) The young giraffe side-eyes as she reaches for the provided feed – she looks to say 'now you see me’ and you set out in the faint light, puddles and neatly spaced trees. The white vehicle from the Royal Estates checks you or doesn’t and your sight drops to an empty bench by water as you cross a bridge and the young couple in shades of brown imagine you, the polar bear cub or animal rights activist. You look away but feel their wondering smile and then you

tread unnoticed up The Avenue, tracked by black ball cameras and all is mulchy and musky in following birdsong. Then the city opens to

Swiss Cottage and rows of shop fronts, your faint reflection, then three versions in upright mirrors displayed too low for your head and the walk becomes kinder, shielding you from the sea of traffic with grey and green mosaic, dirty glistening and kissed with red spray. Up

Broadhurst Gardens there are stifling roses and sickening trees, the mulching is rolling your stomach to spawn tadpoles or dump (‘no dumping here’) and fragrance is rot in all the after-wet of London in June. The closed businesses are suggestive of life – this is a Taste of Tokyo! Here are empty beer bottles and onward past

residences and the long wall that keeps the railway siding from bears like you – then the train unseen – the grand sound and a blackbird on high claims Kilburn, or this corner of it which is

quantity of fruit and cardboard, something of Tangier then lit brightly to all splendour. You are nearing it now and imagine the pilgrimage of the amphibians, drawn to the little pond from how far? Swirling inside or heaving, certainly pushing on frog hide or ursine fur, the curling locks of your forelegs, the forelegs of your forebears, the tight white get-up shining and shouting-out his drunk, drenched aroma until you are

here and wouldn’t you know, it’s another locked enclosure – all of London is the smell of zoo, the chirping and mulching musk of zoo and the tracking, the silent notations but look

 

here this glory of spawning in cherub rose, this welcoming polar, the flowering of the stacked white trainer that gave you all the trouble – oh this is all the metamorphosis you could wish, ursa minor, forever welcoming blooming roses, little happily you never come in.

  

Ryan Ormonde (he/him) is a poet from London. Ryan has contributed poems to SPAM, Spoonfeed and Osmosis and collaborated on two short poetry films, one with poet Karen Sandhu for Magma and the other with artist Madalina Zaharia. Ryan is a contributing artist to Impermanence Dance's Decade project and his poetry features in the associated film Lady Blackshirt for Bristol Old Vic. 

 

'frogspawn' is a poetic text that considers realistic possibilities for an event that might resemble a real-life enactment of (or a source of inspiration for) Paul McCartney and Geoff Dunbar's animated film Rupert and the Frog Song (1984).

Ryan can be found on instagram @ryanopoet