Whatever Happened to the Horny Toad?

...A Poem



Horny toads were everywhere,

throwbacks to a primal age,

dinosaurs with heads of spikes,

skin of knobs and scales.

Poke them with finger or a stick

and they might move a step or two,

then stop again in widespread stance

to contemplate the world through steady yellow eyes...


Whatever happened to the horny toad?

Why aren't they found numberless

in washes brush and cactus clothed

where rabbits squat and nose

and quail in mindless coveys jerk this way and that?

Quail and rabbit co-exist with man,

search and pick at seeming endless stalk and seed.

Even javelina the old man feeds are misguided pets

that nose screen doors for hand-outs...

Why not the stoic horny toad?


Was there something in this toad

that could not stomach modern man,

would not abide vile decadence?

Not poisoned by our catastrophic mind,

nor fallen on some hi-tech sword,

but absent by decision,

ethics, honor, moral stance

beyond the common quail?

It could not bear our degraded ways?


Did the horny toad just leave, say adios,

declare its independence, disgust,

move on to higher, better spheres

more conducive to its quest...?

What is the measure of toad or man

that fouls its nest in vile repute?

Where does the primal honor lie...

with man who prides himself on filth

or toad that understands and moves away?


Copyright by Don Gray


Don Gray Art  •  Poems