27 October 2016

Poetry Thursday - Toad by Norman MacCaig


Stop looking like a purse. How could a purse
squeeze under the rickety door and sit,
full of satisfaction, in a man's house?

You clamber towards me on your four corners -
right hand, left foot, left hand, right foot.

I love you for being a toad,
for crawling like a Japanese wrestler,
and for not being frightened.

I put you in my purse hand, not shutting it,
and set you down outside directly under
every star.

A jewel in your head? Toad,
you've put one in mine,
a tiny radiance in a dark place.

Norman MacCaig (via)

This poem was used in a recent BBC Radio4 programme in the Natural Histories series (available as a podcast), 

The poems of Norman MacCaig (1910-1996) are known for their simplicity of languageand humour, and are greatly popular. "Always suspicious of literary and political dogma, he remained true to the lyric impulse. Whether writing about people, animals and places either in his beloved Assynt in the west Highlands (his mother’s ancestral country) or the city of Edinburgh (where he lived all his life), he combined ‘precise observation with creative wit’. "


  1. Thanks for jogging my memory. Norman MacCaig was involved with Edinburgh University when I was there.
    Thanks also for the particular poem: the toad which likes to live in my greenhouse has been hiding recently, and I must remember to look out when I have a grand clear out soon.

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  3. Thanks for sharing. Always a pleasure to read.

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