The Toad

Crouched low to the ground he restrained
strong, rubbery back legs from lunging.
Through dirt and leaves, his small, brown, lump of a body,
crept slowly forward on webbed feet, attempting to pass
as just another rock that had somehow attained
the ability to move.

Stalking his prey, he waited patiently to release
his lightening-fast, sticky-pink, worm-like tongue
of doom.  So intent on the buzzing, heard only
in his bumpy little head, that he never saw
my hand swoop down upon him.  His muscular rear legs
sprung into action – too late.

Cupped in my hands, he struggled in vain.  Digging, clawing,
jumping and bumping his pointy head repeatedly
against impenetrable fingers.  Surrender came
when he flattened out his cold, soft, vulnerable belly
into my hand.  Defeated and still.  Allowing me access
to fully inspect his ugliness.

Glassy eyes, black and gold, like tiny cat’s-eye marbles
bulged out of either side of his snake like-head.  Cold and void
of emotion, yet swimming with aquatic memories, telling
tall tales of past lives, before lungs replaced gills, and  legs replaced tails.
Long before dry lands replaced muddy waters.

Was this small, helpless, amphibian really the same
malevolent creature that could strike fear into the hearts
of women, and render magic into witches brew?
Half reptile, half fish, his wart covered body was quite repulsive
indeed.  And yet, how many  fair maidens had he enticed
throughout all history?

How many had gazed longingly, desperately, into those black eyes?
Fighting back fear and disgust, to willfully press their cherry lips
to his leathery hide?  Was it so preposterous to fathom the idea
of his evolving one more mere step?  From toad to man?
Or even to a Prince amongst men?!

In spite of the obvious, I found myself wondering how contagious
his warts might be? or if  they were contagious at all?  I wondered,
what risk is too great for even the slightest taste of enchantment?
The toad just stared at me.   His mouth was wide, serious, and
mysteriously absent of anything even remotely
resembling lips.

Thoughts of fairy-tales and toad alike became grounded in one
horrific instant.  My hand recoiled in renewed disgust as I felt
his warm, wet, last defense.  He dropped abruptly back to earth,
back to reality, and quickly lunged towards freedom, dirt and leaves,
where he belonged.  Far from invasive, curious, humans and
their hideous lips.

~smj

14 Comments to “The Toad”

  1. Ha ha, brilliant.
    I can imagine a lot of thought went into this one.
    Great poem

  2. …it’s not every suitor that can dump in fair lady’s hand and get away with it/
    himself. is it the warmth of the hand i wonder? in any case there must be some pleasure attached. very fond of toad poems. now let’s see if you can take
    crepitating criticism of similar soufflé. let’s examine, attain and its variations,
    hmmm, douser of an etymologist that i am, i see the (n) is constant whether
    main vowel is a,e.i, meaning to touch upon, well, taking an advinitory leap
    into pie Nauatl, i’d say taint, attain attent is probably sourced by tentli(N),
    which is the word for lip, the main motif of the poem, so my crit is void,
    and the line reads, that a rock had somehow kissed/attained a toad
    and found the ability to move.
    snug, smug toady. oh, if you do one on snail=sneg(OE/russ)=snow,
    hmmm, odd case but snow and snail have same root, because,
    (s)nec/g(letra)=necueolololiztli(N)=to go about with skirts/robes rolled up,
    cueitl(N)=skirt, ololoa(N)=to wrap, dress. yes, a snail does that, and so
    does lord and lady when it snows, the command/remedy is in the word
    itself! notice the russian is still using the old english, either a yardstick
    on the time warp between countrys or the fashion freeze provoked
    by russian winters, brrr.

    • tzopilotl –

      It seems your comment went into my spam folder and I didn’t see it until just now. So sorry, as I really do appreciate the very thoughtful response! And, sure… I can take “crepitating criticism”(as soon as I can figure out what that means. LOL).

      As far as I know.. they pee as a defense mechanism against being eaten. I assume the taste and smell are as repelling as the experience. No pleasure there! lol Although, I also heard that this helps propel them somehow – making their getaway jump bigger than a normal jump. ?

      Anyway – you made some good points, and yeah… this poem was definitely a bit wordy and completely unrealistic and nonsensical at times. I see changes I could/should make and if/when I do, your thoughts and feedback will be very useful – so THANKS. And, no, no plans to write about a snail… but, one never knows…

      Thanks again for the visit, read, and constructive criticism, and reminder to check my spam more often. =) Much appreciated.

      • …lol means nonsense in welsh/walch/ualchiua(N). toads are like turtles,
        once you let them go they disappear into the garden=calli tentli(N)=
        house lip/edge, like my post to you. i sometimes have to check my spam
        for my own posts on wordpress, my last one, sicel sicily, in fact, ended in spam. i think the monkeys at wordpress are hardpressed often and devolve to type when their keepers let their chains out too far.
        i remember seeing the monkeys in, was it, the yokohama zoo,
        they were all mad poor things, and a clochard and i were the only
        witnesses=quittani(N)=who/qui-itta/sees=qu/kh(r)i(s)tanni(letra)=
        christians there, altho he was surely a shinto-buddhist-nihilist. in those
        days i was just an eye and lived my important moments through
        my Nikkormat lens, the best of which was the 105mm portrait.
        you write well. now it’s only a matter of taking a few threads
        out of the narrative so the reader can jump from one stone to
        another, as the-other=teotl(N)teo/theo/deo, strength of poetry
        is what is not said yet exists between what is said as surely as
        the blackholes of the galaxy=calaqui(N)=who enters the house.
        the white goddess is the great muse. robert graves wrote a book
        by that name, without knowing who she was, but she’s the 2d venus,
        ehecatl(N/day 2 tonalamatl), windweaver shuttle/xiotl star, ekatheron(gk)=katherine=hecate. myth, rite, religion are the beginnings of language,
        and by religion, i mean all relgion. the euro-centric religion, the catholic/
        católico=cat=ecatl/ehecatl(N/2 tona souls)=hecate.
        cathe/caO(etruscan prayer, 2d element)=caos(sp)/chaos(E).
        the first element=ati/atl(N)=altia(N)=tealtia(N)=t(h)e-altar=art=
        t/reality=theatre(the other half of word is audience, e.g.,
        itoa/oito=oido=ear((h)ear/earth’s ear=ue altia(N)=bealté(OE)=
        beauty/beatitude.
        why bother editing past poems? let it flow, go forward.
        my motto=motley=motla(N)=moral is onto the next mistake,
        as for crits, they are just slings and arrows=atlatl(N)=at/l/r-at/l/r=
        arrow. double atl/water. sling=lincua(Lat)/lengua(sp)=tilinqui(N)=
        fid for separating warp from woof.

  3. Thank you=) . So glad you thinks so.
    I had to write something for class… it was suppose to be packed full of descriptive imagery… and about something “ordinary”, “tangible”. I’m afraid I got carried away. I went from brain blockage, to full-fledged story-rambling mode. I’m debating on cutting it in half for class. LOL ;)

  4. LOL–oh the “last defence”—LOL. I like this a lot, Samanthamj.
    IF you cut it in half–and I can see how that would be possible–and might improve its wordcraft character–OR not. Depends on how and what you cut. But–please do post any revised versions.
    Photos are fun! I have some weird thing for froggies and little lizards so am especially iintrigued. Hoping you’ve got good communicative poets in your class who are willig to share. Have FUN!!!!

    • Hi there 47WB. Yes… that last defense… sometimes, it’s thier first defense… but, I needed a climatic ending for this. LOL ;)
      I wound up just submitting the whole thing… My son made a good point, which was, “why would you take the time to write the whole thing, and then only share part of it? It won’t make as much sense”. So, I took his 14 year old advice… but, I have to wait til next week for feedback on it. And, then, the assignment for this week wound up being to build upon the literal, descriptive imagery, and move to more figurative images/comparisons. So, I *could* have just submitted the 2nd half of the poem… but, nooooOOooooo. Oh well, gives me a good excuse to come up with something new. =)

  5. I just knew a man would get into this poem, somewhere!!
    Love it, Sam – great poem!
    :)

  6. Moves and moves and moves toward that end, which is just delightful. The whole poem is delightful, fun and well-considered and well- wrought. Good job.

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