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Exploding Frogs
by stylus Saturday, Jun 2 2012, 2:08pm
international / prose/poetry / literature

few would remember the double happy
a most inappropriate name for a firecracker

it was the favourite, the preferred choice,
between a tom thumb and bunger --
double bungers were out of the question
a frog’s arse was far to small for them.

i recall the terrible deeds of young children
playing at the Moore Park pond when it had rushes
and all manner of swamp vegetation and multitudes of insects
upon which scores of pond frogs would dine.

we caught frogs by the dozen, we had the warts to prove it.
we’d carefully place them in grass-lined, moistened shoe boxes
to take back to the slums of Little Napier and Albion Streets --
in those days.

all the kids would gather around knowing what to expect,
we called the game exploding frogs!

it was a collaborative effort, back street urchins
pooling their pennies to purchase a packet of double happy’s
at the newsagent.

one of the older girls used to carefully insert
a double happy into a frog’s arse -- she wanted to be a nurse.
we’d watch the hapless frog jump around with the wick-end
of the cracker protruding from its arse;
we laughed and giggled like the child sadists we were.

then one of the boys would light the wick
and we’d watch the frog jump around frantically
driven by the hissing wick until, CRACK! the double happy exploded
and sent the frog into the air in various directions/pieces;
a rectum here, a green leg there, intestines everywhere.

but it’s not what i recall with fond memory,
though exploding frogs was fun at the time.

while hunting frogs in the tall grasses and rushes
little nancy would often take a pee in front of me –
the boys peeing at will whenever the need arose;

i was always intrigued by the sight of nancy peeing,
as i didn’t have one of those.
she often used to say you can play with it if you want
she seemed to enjoy the fondling and i never knew why
until she reciprocated one day.

we were cheeky, barefoot street urchins, all of us.
one day i’ll write a poem about the various directions
our adult lives took – vocations were as varied as the tasks we
allotted ourselves playing exploding frogs.

i sometimes pass where the old pond used to be;
today it has been cleaned out, concreted and lined
with sandstone blocks – the grasses and rushes removed
and replaced by lawn grass.
a fountain in the middle of the cement pond completes its unnatural

it once teamed with life; ducks, frogs, water birds
dragonflies, nancy, me and the other kids;

it was much more fun in those days.

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