Friday, March 30, 2007


A slimy, creeping gastropod
envisioned heaven in the dawn,
raised his voice to call on God,
mighty father of the lawn.

“Are we not fashioned after Thee?”
he asked the stolid, staring Toad,
“Shall we not wake one day and be
at Thy right hand, though we are mowed?”

“I’ve got better things to do
than chew the fat with slugs like you,”
big slime to small responded,
to a flower bed absconded,

where, until he’d dropped so brashly by
and made the worming robin fly,
that long-awaited feathered luncheon
had had Cat’s complete attention.

“Don’t eat me, I’m truly foul,”
toadied Toad as a breath of air
hooked his left eye from its cowl;
the scream inside him smothered there.

“Lord, I beg you not to eat me,
Lord and Master, you mean, right?”
No answer from a toad completely
paralyzed with pain and fright.

“So, what might you be offering
for your low life, you clammy thing?
I doubt the likes of you could give
enough to let me let you live.”

“For you the fatted caterpillar!
Choicest fly! You’ll have your fill,
though half the world’s disappeared,
and things are looking pretty weird.”

“Save it. Bring your disgusting pelf.
Our taste runs to the feathered and furred,
so your diet’s no concern to Ourself,
but it just might serve to bait the birds.”

“But Master, if you’d give me back
my eye I could triangulate
to your greater glory, send my tacky
tongue unerringly straight.”

“No sinful, rancid beast should wear
such jaunty baubles, not in pairs.
I’ve left you one to look at Me:
what greater mercy could there be?”

Toad did as he was told,
surprised he could be as ruthless
as necessary with lives so cold,
spiny, alien, unamphibious,

though Cat did need a huge supply--
they either got away or crushed--
so time went rather quickly by,
as often happens when we’re rushed.

But one day everything was changed,
Toad’s universe was rederanged
in the unseen instant he half-saw
his master lick the grubby paw

of Mutt, the Beast from Through the Fence,
who seemed familiarly incensed:
“You’d live to hunt another day
if you could hunt like you can pray.”

No need to dwell on what ensued
in all the grim particulars;
Cat predictably got chewed,
but unpredictably vehicular

was Mighty Mutt’s untoward demise:
he jumped the hedge and tore right out
in traffic with his maddened eyes
fixed on his lacerated snout.

Toad, strayed to his own fortunes
from the path of true extortion,
felt at last not freed, but only
vain, effaced, toad lonely.

Then the slugs offered beer:
he dropped a tongue, found some cheer,
and then a mate, against all odds,
and tads in thousands, water gods.


Minx said...

I am still smiling from when I read this yesterday!
Bufo quietly triumphs, minus jaunty bauble.
Again your perspective tickles our perceptions of life beyond the back door.

Atyllah said...

Loved this sassy number - good to know toad triumphs - as he always seems to do, except when he lands in my pool.

Canterbury Soul said...

a virtuoso piece. in awe am i.

L.M.Noonan said...

I loved this, I'm still smiling. Cane taods are a HUGE problem here in Queensland, pest though they are I still feel sorry for them.