Sunday, 15 October 2017

New toadtales: Ancient as the hills

 Ancient as the hills...

Telling Toads, the next poems

Telling Toads continues to hop slowly forwards (this is a Toad project so doesn’t often do “hasty”).

In this the Froglife Year of the Toad, here at Creeping Toad, I am inviting people to add their own creative ideas to a collection of Toad (and frog and tree frog,) stories and poems.  We hope people will share these beyond the blog where they will appear, to read them aloud, to tell the stories, declaim poems by ponds and generally celebrate Toads and their cousins.*

This is now our third set of poems, coming from the Keele Poets at Silverdale in Staffordshire (best link for more information is through Caroline Hawkridge, the group's tutor). If you are part of such a group, take a look at the opening blog (toad-creep over to it here) and challenge yourselves!

The Difference Between Frogs and Toads
by Mary Williams

Frogs are NOW
Toads are then.

Frogs hop, jump, leap,
Toads clamber.

Frogs are edible. Ask the French.
Nobody eats toads.

Frogs can be beautiful, and poisonous.
Toads are just poisonous.

A cat will never catch a toad..
A cat and a frog, on the other hand, have hours of fun together

Frogs exude their offspring in any old ditch and dyke.
Toads are more choosy.

Frogs are common as muck.
Toads are refined.

Frogs are always active; climb trees, swim lakes,
Toads are more stationary. Contemplative, buddha like.

Toads have a secret weapon.
Australians will tell you. Cane toads,
Enemies of the people.
Frogs will only harm you if you use blowdarts.

Frogs make a racket at night, like motorbikes revving up,
Toads are quiet as the grave.

Frogs get thrown on the floor by angry princesses, just for one kiss.
Nothing like that ever happened to a toad.

I rest my case.

Hackney Squatters
by Mary Williams

When rain storms filled the drains
in the Hackney yard of our old house,
two toads appeared, huddled together
on the back-door mat.
I nearly trod on them.

London toads, golden eyed; ancient as the hills,
their mouths turned down in disapproval
at having to be here.

In my head,
I heard one tell the other to budge up.
Were they a pair, male and female?
It seemed impertinant to consider it,
like Queen Victoria’s undergarments.

In such a tiny garden, how had I not seen them?
What were they waiting for?
For the rain to stop, for me to let them in?

Perhaps they were searching for green ponds,
swarms of tasty flies, safe shelter from the rain.
They carried magic on their warty backs
all the way from Kingsland Road to Christendom.

When the rain stopped, they were gone.
Their mystery stayed with me.

Pucker Up
by John Statham

Princess, please be regal! Don’t kiss that frog
when charming, handsome, eager toads like me
have all the females in these fields agog.

Frogs have their place, and don’t the French just know it,
with mint, a hint of nutmeg, tartare sauce,
but snog a frog – yuck! Every time he’ll blow it.

Your Highness, go upmarket, kiss a toad;
forget Grimm’s fairy stories – so last year.
Pucker up to me, true love’s overload.

Kiss my magic warts: frogs are passé, stale.
Whisper to me that you’ll always love me
and we will write a brand new fairy tale.

* but please do not publish them without getting formal permission first!

Photo credits (with many thanks!)
Frog-strip: Maria van Daalen
Toad 1, Toad 2 and Frog: Shaun Walters

Castles, palaces and horribly spooky houses

Castles, palaces and horribly spooky houses
Sandiway Library

This week, I did a workshop in a Northwich Library as part of National Libraries Week.....lovely people and exciting buildings, now we wait for the stories of the adventures that happened inside them, outside them, around them, under them.....

The creations were so lovely they don't need any commentary....many thanks to all our young artists, supportive grown-ups and welcoming library team!

inspired by ancient piled stone buildings