Marge Piercy

(March 31, 1936 / Detroit, Michigan)

Toad Dreams


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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Colleen Courtney (5/18/2014 7:24:00 PM)

    Another case of perfect timing. Just the other night some friends and I were discussing how we wish there was a way to read an animals mind. How their thought process works etc. Also discussed was those who claim animals don't think, that they don't have a brain. Nothing makes me more angry than hearing such an ignorant statement.
    What a wonderful little write with the added bonus of the Thoreau quote at the start! (Report) Reply

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