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?

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