Last night I dreamt of toads.. 3 to be exact… all different colours… A medium sized black one, a large Orange one and a smaller brown one. They sat on my bedroom windowsill and sang to me bathed in full moonlight… It was quite beautiful.
I could [ and maybe will] write about the magical use of toads, and the folklore that surrounds them … but now, because I still need more coffee…a poem.
That afternoon the dream of the toads rang through the elms by Little River and affected the thoughts of men, though they were not conscious that they heard it.–Henry Thoreau
The dream of toads: we rarely
credit what we consider lesser
life with emotions big as ours,
but we are easily distracted,
abstracted. People sit nibbling
before television’s flicker watching
ghosts chase balls and each other
while the skunk is out risking grisly
death to cross the highway to mate;
while the fox scales the wire fence
where it knows the shotgun lurks
to taste the sweet blood of a hen.
Birds are greedy little bombs
bursting to give voice to appetite.
I had a cat who died of love.
Dogs trail their masters across con-
tinents. We are far too busy
to be starkly simple in passion.
We will never dream the intense
wet spring lust of the toads.
Marge Piercy, “Toad dreams” from Stone, Paper, Knife (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983). First appeared in Mid-South Writer 2 (1981). Copyright © 1981, 1983 by Marge Piercy and Middlemarsh, Inc.
Sweet are the uses of adversity;
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
Shakespeare’s As You Like It: Act 2 Scene i