Rupert Loydell, Toad of Toad Hughes


    In the beginning was croak.
    And croak begat splash
    and splash begat ripple
    and ripple begat wave.

    'Toads can't wave' thought Toad
    and shed a baleful tear.

    And wave begat waving back.
    And waving back begat smile
    and smile begat friendship
    and friendship begat romance,
    a couple walking by the lake.

    'Ugh, a horrid toad' said one.

    'I wasn't waving at you'
    croaked Toad in the mud.


    'Poop Poop' said Toad.

    'You'll never drive with those
    webbed feet', said God.


    Toad sat on his lily pad
    and looked at the world.
    It made no sense to him,
    this mess of mud and water,
    floating green islands to sit on.

    A fish swam past, a bird
    flew by, something rustled
    in the grass. Toad trembled
    with the wonder of it all,
    then flicked out his tongue

    and swallowed a fly.
     [I don't know why]


    'Poop Poop' said Toad.

    'Call that poetry?' said God.


    Toad basked in the sunshine,
    then decided to cool off,
    go for a swim. He flexed
    his muscles and dived in.

    The water was delightful,
    embraced him like a womb.
    He pushed against the current
    as though revisiting his birth

    swimming toward the light,
    toward new life, the river bank,
    exiting the eternal flow of nature
    between the thighs of creation.

    'I'm pooped', said Toad.
    'You're not the only one',
    snapped God from his lounger.
    'And who taught you to swim?'


    'Poop Poop' said Toad.

    'Clear it up', said God.


    Toad became Poet Laureate,
    with a pond of his own at the palace,
    his very own royal aquarium,
    and breakfast every morning.
    But it didn't seem the same.

    They gave him his very own
    servant, to wipe off the slime
    and keep him looking nice.
    But he missed his own stink
    the mud drying on his back.

    He could croak exactly what he liked
    as long as it didn't mention tadpoles
    or spawn, as long as it was approved
    by the committee and didn't
    say anything important or rude.

    Toad longed for fresh flies,
    to flick out his tongue, dribble
    into his chins and wallow in ooze.
    He was at the peak of his fame
    but it was nothing to crow about.


    'Poop Poop' said Toad.

    'Get a life', said God.
    'Oh sorry, too late.'

    'Delicious', said Crow.


© Rupert M Loydell 2006

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