The poem must not
be boring. Repetitive,
yes, for form’s sake, it’s

the principle of
the thing. Cave art repeats it-
self. Astonishing.

How does that happen?
That real toad in the garden?
It’s boring unless

it returns your look—-
those perplexingly spaced eyes—-
into the garden

we share. Transcendence
and its excess keep the gar-
den good for others.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

One thought on “Toad”

  1. I love this one, Tom. And here’s a funny story… I was working on a poem, a villanelle, on my laptop, when your email came in. My email program pops up a window with just the subject line from incoming messages: ‘The poem must not be boring” it said. Exactly the reminder I needed! I almost turned round to se if you’d been looking over my shoulder!

    As ever,



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