Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

How The Canetoad Came To Australia - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

It was near Cairns, out on the road.
A rather homely looking toad
was of a mind to find his mate.
'Twas raining heavily, and late.

He dodged, with luck and clumsy feet
the cars that occupied the street.
He'd jump a bit and then duck down
and was the picture of a clown.

He smelled her lovely pheromones
and ached inside his cane toad bones.
But had not touched her, eye to eye
because he was a trifle shy.

She'd taken off, late afternoon,
had left them all at the lagoon,
as if she were to, somewhere else
find HIM, with whistles and with bells.

Her skin was, you could say light blue
and changed in hue like Uluru.
Thus she stood out from all the crowd
which ought to never be allowed

because a toad who won't fit in
due to, let's say, a double chin,
will quickly get a bloated brain
which in itself will make him vain..

Miss Toad, as you can visualise,
had glacier blue and bulging eyes,
though not exceptional in height
wore a colossal underbite.

What to her suitors was not clear
is, whether all her other gear,
well hidden under warts and abs
was feminine and not just scabs.


Toads shed their skin each time they shrug,
you could crochet a blue-green rug
from one large creature in no time;
just wash it to remove the slime.

This male who called himself a teen
did trust his instincts and was keen
to spend some time inside a ditch
(yet, he had not yet found the bitch!) .

So he kept dodging through the night,
just hoping for the pretty sight
that played inside his ugly head,
and then! He tought she might be dead.

You know how our better halves
run willy-nilly, like young calves,
in circles down those freeway lanes,
and on the track, avoiding trains.

He started worrying at once.
His dream of daughters and of sons
seemed to have gone into a void;
he raised his feet now and said 'Floyd! '

It was his name, in case you think
that he was closer to the brink
that separates from sanity
all those embracing misery.

He spoke the words that could be heard
and understood by every nerd,
that he had come to save the cane.
Those near considered him insane.

All farmers closed their ears and eyes
to canetoad's ramblings and his cries.
They thought he was another pest
and to ignore him would be best.

But, at the junction of the road
our hero Floyd who was a toad,
was spotted by a scientist
who grabbed him with a flabby fist.

Just then young Floyd had, with his tongue
caught a young beetle who had hung
inside a sugarplant at that,
he'd eaten lots and gotten fat.

It was a plague and they all knew
that every sugarcane they grew
would be attacked and eaten bare,
the beetles got a hefty share.

The learn-ed man now saw his chance
to grow in stature and advance,
by saving all the sugar fields
and drastic'ly increase their yields.

What Floyd had not accomplished yet
until he and the fellow met,
was simple for the learn-ed man,
he caught the female in a can

by using pheromones from Floyd,
'twas something females can't avoid.
And soon they were inside a shed
then, minutes later they were wed.

The scientist turned off the light
and used the balance of the night
to write a thesis, well, an ode
about the future of the toad.

Floyd did produce a lot of sperm
(each did resemble a small worm) ,
and in the end Maureen gave birth
to thousands that enriched the earth.

The scientist, a scrawny chappy,
was overwhelmed and very happy.
He gave a speech then on T V
and told them how they would be free
of beetles, courtesy of brains
he mentioned great financial gains.

You see, he said, the toads will eat
their very favourite, tasty meat
and thus eliminate the cause,
his voice was drowned by much applause.

The years went by and, yes indeed
Floyd and his clan did breed and breed.
Some thirty thousand thrice a year
of warty toads that have no fear.

The problem though was that the toads
ran circles on those country roads.
Although they tried and tried to teach
the toads to climb, so they could reach

the canetoadbeetles in the stalks.
A toad just sits there and he gawks,
while drooling on his underbite
and making noises in the night.

Well, now and then a beetle will
fall to the ground, remaining still.
His camouflage his only chance,
but then, you'll see the killers dance

They'll rip him into tiny bits
and feed the pieces to the kids.
Meanwhile, on Highway number seven
the scientist just went to Heaven.

Irate they were, those farmer blokes,
not in the mood for further jokes.
No matter how he dodged and hopped
that mob of farmers had him stopped.


Bufus Marinus, the cane toad, was imported by Australian
Agriculture authoritied when it was observed that they would
eat (with gusto) , the beetle destroying Australian canefields.
Once the toads had multiplied (each female can lay 30,000 eggs
three times each year) it was discovered that the toads could
kill small animals like dogs with their toxic venom. What they were unable to do was to climb. So, the beetles and the toads sort of
grew up together. Many friendships were formed and onl a few beetles were actually eaten. Tasty though they might be.
Today, the beetles continue to look down on the toads from their lofty
heights, while munching sugar cane.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 11, 2008

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