St. Benno & the Frog

posted in: Poems | 0

I’m trying my hand at writing in a “traditional storytelling” style–it is a different kind of verse! Here is a fragment of a tale from a medieval Saint’s Life; my retelling is inspired by a translation in Helen Waddell’s Beasts and Saints, and informed by the original Latin version in the Acta Sanctorum. (The scripture referenced was in Daniel 3 in the medieval Bible; it was later removed as apocrypha.)

 Saint Benno liked to walk in the fields
as he MEDitated
and as he prayed.
And one day he walked by a marsh
praying, MEDitating,
and from its slimy stale water a frog croaked

Saint Benno thought of the story--
everyone knows the story--
of an island long ago and far away,
the island of Serafus, where Danae lived,
where all the frogs were mute.
He spoke to the croaker with his voice of power
he said to the frog,
"Be Seraphian."
And there was silence.
So he could pray.

Saint Benno walked along by the marsh
as he MEDitated
as he prayed
And Saint Benno thought of the scripture--
everyone knows the scripture--
the song they sang in the fiery furnace,
long ago in Babylon,
"O ye whales and all that move in the waters, bless ye the Lord,
O all ye beasts and cattle, bless ye the Lord."

Saint Benno stopped. 

And he thought, "what if...?"
What if the Lord LIKES the croaking
Even more than he likes my praying?
So he spoke to the silent choir
he said to those frogs,
"BLESS ye the Lord.
In all your usual ways."

And soon, by the marsh, the air 
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