Saturday, November 2, 2013

Writing about a garden with real toads

Poet Marianne Moore (November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972), in a poem entitled Poetry, hoped for poets who could produce "imaginary gardens with real toads in them."
Her words eventually led to the name of my favourite poetry website, where poets from around the world can write following a prompt (most days), or write as we see fit (on Mondays) and share our work with one another.

Wikipedia Photo

Today, Kerry has asked the members and contributors at Real Toads to write about an idyllic setting, and to introduce a "real toad" into it.
I have chosen my country as my setting. For most of my many years, I have been proud to be a Canadian. That pride is slipping away due to the presence in our nation's capital of "real toads" who would rather sell my beloved Canada to foreign business interests than keep it "the true north strong and free" of which all its citizens can be proud. In this writing, I've mixed a few metaphors and committed some biological faux pas, for which I beg your indulgence.
Please click on pictures to enlarge.

'O Canada we stand on guard for thee' Stained Glass, Yeo Hall, Royal Military College of Canada features arms of the Canadian provinces and territories (1965)

there can be toads
in any garden,
lurking behind plants,
trees and flowers
in a land no longer free.
their dry, leathery skin,
short legs, and snout-like
parotoid glands
reveal them to be the real
snakes in the grass
of The True North
no longer Strong and Free.
they lie, cheat, steal,

and laugh at their crimes,
only to perpetrate
more, and again more.
yes, they laugh
at the wide-eyed
trusting voters
who gave them dominion
over this land and its soil
that they might plunder,
re-plunder, and plunder again.

their stocky bodies
walk among us,
never hopping, 
never revealing
their true nature.
terrestrial summer ranges
and winter hibernation sites
are theirs
and theirs alone
once they have chased
the mammals from them.
die, mammals,
they hiss,
we’ve taken your homes
and you are
no longer free.


Hannah said...

This is powerful Kay and the closing lines are especially painful. So sad.

Anonymous said...

Yes. It is terrible what is happening to amphibians--and mankind a little crazy not to see that there's a progression in all this--well done. k.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Kay, this is such a powerful message. As I read your words, I couldn't help thinking of a recent news report I read stating that the Canadian government would no longer protect the polar bears! I could hardly give it credence until now.

It is a terrible kind of betrayal when a citizen feels let down by her country of birth.

Kay L. Davies said...

@ Kerry — You're right. I do feel betrayed, as do many other Canadians. Our present government has said it doesn't believe in global warming, and has muzzled climate scientists while, at the same time, promoting large oil companies and big business.
Canada is rapidly falling in the estimation of other countries because of such positions.

hedgewitch said...

So stark and sad a picture, Kay--and one which we in the US have seen played out for the last fifty years as well--and the result is a vicious oligarchy that makes war on the poor, suppresses individual freedoms wherever it can, denies the facts with *stupid* lies as if no one has the brains to see through them---I could go on, but it would be wrong. ;_) Let's just say, the toads wouldn't claim these bottom feeders--great take on a difficult prompt.

Sam Edge said...

It's almost embarrassing what we've become. I shudder to think that the US is making history with Obama and we are repeating history with Harper.

Marian said...

so fucking true. i wrote on a similar topic. argh! thank you, Kay.

TALON said...

Yes, Kay, it's true about the nasty and vile type of toads. They can be found worldwide, sadly.

Alices Wonderland said...

This reverberates with so many in the US. Just shaking our heads wondering where this will all lead.

Loredana Donovan said...

The state of world affairs, economy, politics is pretty sad right now. Sorry it's affecting your country, too. Well done expressing your views.

Susie Clevenger said...

Kay, this is so powerful. So, so sad it is truth!!

Margaret said...

I just don't understand why balance is so hard to achieve. But well, yes I do. It equals = PROFIT. The old saying "Money talks" is alive and well. You say it like it is, Kay - and I agree with the above - toads wouldn't even claim these bums.

Susan said...

I read the Mr. Linky list backwards today, so by the time I got to yours I got quite indignant on the part of Toads, fairly blameless in the affairs of men. Your poem is totally wonderful in its anger and revelation. But I still pity the toad.