Finch & Frog

The finch trills in the apple tree
His: Tiriliree!
A frog climbs slowly up to him,
Up to the treetop's leafy rim
And puffs right up and croaks: "Hallooo,
Ol' chum: see, I c'n do it too!"

And as the bird his song of spring
So sweetly to the world doth sing,
The frog chimes in with sassy tones
And interjects his bassy drones.

The finch exclaims: "O Joy, hurray!
I'll fly away!"
And springs into the azure sky.

"Hah!" cries the frog, "Well so kin I!"
He makes a most ungainly bound
And splats onto the bare hard ground.
He's pancake flat, and that's no joke:
He's croaked his very final croak.

If someone climbs laboriously
Into the branches of a tree
And thinks himself a bird to be:
Wrong is he.

by Wilhelm Busch

Comments (22)

Learned many of his poems when I was in high school, and for church. I still remember. I am 82 years old now.
Memorized in the 2nd grade. We ea ch had a line to say and then recited most together. We wore our white shirts with huge red bow ties and took our show to several churches! Simpler times.
How of I print a copy of this poem?
Did James Weldon Johnson pen “alternate versions” of this poem? I have seen a version which replaced God’s gender to that of female. Is that legal? It is a great American work of art, boldly nuanced with purpose!
Had to memorise this in second grade which was then recited aloud before the school assembly. Curious to find it again.
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