top of page

what the bullfrogs said to you during last night’s rainstorm

CAS for Database

Ran Zhao

Hong Kong

King George V School


are you a dream? we can't tell. come closer,
into the light. yesterday's river-water has flowed to the sea;
is the river still the same river?
if a dreamer stands in the river-water

until her blood turns to yearning,
is she the dreamer or the dream?
can you love the moon          love the cattails
love a ghost          if there is nothing left
to love with? come closer          closer          closer
         into the water.          are you hungry
like the weeds are hungry for marrow
         like our bellies are hungry          for the storm?
are you the hunter          or the hunted          the haunted
         or the haunting? come closer.
closer. so what if dawn finds you moon-drunk, shadows
wrapped around you like skins, drowning out the rain's song
with your dirge of longing          so what if dawn
does not find you at all? come closer.
stand in the river-water. sing our dirge of longing.
what are we? just the larvae sleeping.
just the thunder’s echo. just the rain
singing songs to itself. there is nothing here.
what are you looking for?


The author has a lyrical style of writing, which, coupled with the personification of the bullfrogs, gives the entire piece a lovely fairytale feel. The use of spacing also expertly builds momentum and suspense, propelling the reader through the piece while still dispersing questions throughout to force the reader to pause and reflect. The wordplay is also stunning in lines like “are you the hunter or the hunted the haunted / or the haunting?” and this technique is just the cherry on top of a quiet but long-lingering piece.

Ran Zhao is a student from Hong Kong. She loves art and space, and her dream is to become a crazy cat lady. Her work has been recognised by the Foyle Young Poets of the Year award and is published in perhappened mag.


bottom of page