Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Death Of A Toad

NOT ABOUT climate change, but Richard Wilbur's poem is relevant this time of year nonetheless. Rockaway Mall (where we shop when in Hopatcong) sits on what used to be a wetland but was prime location for the taking of corporations before the New Jersey Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act was passed in 1988. Many other parking lots and lawns in the lakes region used to be some little guy's happy home.

A toad the power mower caught,
Chewed and clipped of a leg, with a hobbling hop has got
To the garden verge, and sanctuaried him
Under the cineraria leaves, in the shade
Of the ashen and heartshaped leaves, in a dim,
Low, and a final glade.

The rare original heartsblood goes,
Spends in the earthen hide, in the folds and wizenings, flows
In the gutters of the banked and staring eyes. He lies
As still as if he would return to stone,
And soundlessly attending, dies
Toward some deep monotone,

Toward misted and ebullient seas
And cooling shores, toward lost Amphibia's emperies.
Day dwindles, drowning and at length is gone
In the wide and antique eyes, which still appear
To watch, across the castrate lawn,
The haggard daylight steer. 

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