A poem by Kelly Dean
On earth we swam; we crawled; we stomped, as creatures big and small
No hairy bipeds yet took hold to rule upon our fall
Our blood ran cold, our pimples bold, our skins slimy and dark
But nonetheless our ugliness prevailed through eons stark
Volcanoes grumbled, spewed and spit out earth’s digest-less meal
To boiling oceans, steaming lakes to hungry creatures’ zeal
Out of the seas we crawled, we breathed and walked upon our fins
(This led to God’s experiment with fuzzy, brainy men)
I waddle down beneath the cane and hope a snake won’t see
Ironically, escaping from a thing evolved from me
Embarrassing — it is — to hide away amongst the leaves
As if my life’s been stolen from some snobby reptile thieves
And birds are little better; thankfully, I’m almost grown
I now can puff my chest and scare them off with just a groan
But life is very scary, often harsh, and seldom fair
Here in the Glades among the birds and snakes, gators and bears
True, here on the earth it seems we are experimentally
A part of something greater, smartly made, progressively
At least for now we fill our role, survive at any cost
But there’s a reason, organized, not simply random, lost
I know it’s rather immature – a toad at such an age
To wish and pray that life was safe, not toxic, fit for rage
Meager defenses don’t hold up to snarling beaks and teeth —
So prayed my ugly pimples will make toxic, oozing seethe
And just like that my prayer answered, yet albeit vain
Some hidden vengeance buried deep beneath my leper’s skin
Brought forth two hunches on my neck with poison stored within
No animal would touch me now, or thus their life will end
Yes, right behind my eyes I spew my own volcanic waste
To poison anything that comes near me to seek a taste
Though like things borne of anger, I had not quite thought it through
As now I am an outcast, a pariah — ugly too
For what’s the good in being safe if no one’s truly helped —
And what’s the self-fulfillment when those notions aren’t heartfelt?
‘Cause in the end despite my efforts I am also dead
Regrettably, I often die before my point is said
The eater too, regrettably, will never tell another
Dead critters tell no tales and don’t become fathers and mothers
So now we both are dead, both voiceless paradoxically
The few who do survive remain alone, sardonically
We often pray for vengeance; what we really want is safety
But sometimes things we pray for really aren’t so noble lately
(And to the harsh suburbanites whose puppies be in peril;
Why is it only then that fuzzy men fear nature’s will?)
I’ve killed the thing that killed me, so is that my lesson learned —
Still in the end I’m also dead, mere vengeance as my turn?
While vengeance sweet, I scarcely think it causes much repose
While breathing one’s last breath and facing coldly judgment’s blows
So when all days be done, I merely stand as sacrifice —
Though deftly unaware, bad things will think before they bite?
Plus with this vexing logic ask, “What benefits my health?”
To poison first, to kill something, yet both still die ourselves?
Is wisdom lost when unknown fear is used as one’s defense?
As oozing pointless venom out for spite makes little sense
Oh no, I’d rather huddle close and never live in fear
And never hide from those I hope might someday hold me dear
If boldness puts me in harm’s way as ignorant fear goads
What better way to die than standing firm with brother toads?
Nay I just turn my back and offer toxic waste instead —
And hide away God’s toxic pimples prayer placed on my head?
What point is made if I just turn my flipper to another
To only sit and watch them die alone without their brother
To push them out from ‘neath the leaf in grief to give me peace
Or make them cover up their glands, to bolster health’s increase?
Yet even without glands like mine, Amphibs have roamed this place
Way long before the hairy ones came forth with angry face
Four hundred-million years against your kind’s pathetic two
I’ll bet we figure out a way to keep surviving longer too
Now I prefer to let my glands grow dry and fade away
As I fear more ‘bout lessons taught to future folks some day
If I am kind, if I can love, not kill avoiding strife
Why better than to kill first-off… then later hope for life?