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This poem is taken from PN Review 65, Volume 15 Number 3, January - February 1989.

Two Poems Fleur Adcock


Let's be clear about this: I love toads.

So when I found our old one dying,
washed into the drain by flood-water
in the nights and then - if I can bring myself
to say it - scalded by soapy lather
I myself had let out of the sink,
we suffered it through together.

It was the summer of my father's death.
I saw his spirit in every visiting creature,
in every small thing at risk of harm:
bird, moth, butterfly, beetle,
the black rabbit lolloping along concrete,
lost in suburbia; and our toad.

If we'd seen it once a year that was often,
but the honour of being chosen by it

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