Jean Hull Herman
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                     The Toad Poem
(The Greening of Texas State Highway 21)

I’m just a tiny toad
Who wants to cross a road
That’s considerably wider than I am.

Heaps of my friends
Have met sorrowful ends
In a true Texas style traffic jam.

I’ve heard there’s a signpost
Nailed high, instead of where most
Toads could easily see it.

Right past it they crawl,
Over hard concrete walls,
Hopping madly along the conduit.

No matter the hour,
Some truck, roaring power,
Will flatten the crowd on the pavement.

It wasn’t until
I got to the sill
That I read the big sign with amazement.

“Toads, please use new tunnel!
It’s a $628,000 tunnel!”
Signed: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Why should humans help us?
The whole thing’s suspicious!
The sign didn’t say U.S. Toad Service.

From our point of view,
This dry, well-lit new
Fancy hole-in-the-ground doesn’t mean much.

In our frenzy to mate,
We all hop fast and straight
At the lady toad we aim to clutch.

Well, if I don’t make it,
‘Cross the road, please don’t take it
To heart.  There’s lots more just like me.

Who’ll jump the concrete
On powerful feet
Pursuing their green destiny.

For The Completion of the Chunnel

We’ve been sitting around for more than five years here
Waiting for you people to plan
How to design, how to finance, how to build, how to refinance
When the original scheme was just grand.

We come from Great Britain, Portugal, France;
We were smitten with the idea that maybe this time
Italian toads, Dutch toads, Spanish toads, Welsh toads,
Would be able to meet and combine.

Across the salt water, too wide for a hop,
We can’t make things, build boats, or even canoes.
We’ve each got one green shirt, or brown shirt, or spotted,
And to way to fit ourselves with shoes.

Would you get with the program!
We’re tired of waiting, the stalling, the money delays.
Maybe we should take over, get the thing done.
After all, toads have magical ways.

We’re cures for warts you know, ingredients of stews
That witches have brewed through the years
For lovelorn and loveless, physical distress,
Potion of newts’ eyes and tears!

We’re about out of patience with national dalliance,
And Nineteen Ninety-five just seems so far!
We’ve joined our forces, green, magic, still voiceless,
But we’ll soon give you quite a jar:

One morning, you’ll see toads and frogs, a great sea,
Roads and bridges clogged, jammed to the skies.
We’ll hop over each other, sister and brother,
For the other side of the Channel’s the prize.

Jean Hull Herman


                     And will the clone be just like Fluffy?
                     "Why, no!" The undertaker cries.
                     "But just as good, thoâ ™ several tries
                     May be required before the scruffy
                     Parts have all been re-defined.
                     She'll look the same, so much â “ absurd!
                     Though gender be a bit obscured,
                     And Personality to yet be Divined.
                     In short, we've all the parts at hand.
                     New Frankensteins â “ and the money's grand!"

                                     WHY I WANT TO BE CLONED

                     I think I've found a reason why I'd want to be a clone,
                     Or cloned, to put it properly, “ besides not being "alone."
                     If I were one of many, I'd wear new clothes day and night,
                     Have rings and watches, necklaces, bracelets, earrings bright.

                     One clone would wear my business suits, the discreet skirt and tie;
                     Another would look like Brittany Spears' clone â “squeal! - they say:
                     "She's fly!"
                     The third would have all day to dress, perfect makeup and hair,
                     Choose curls, straight, Mohawk, limp, bouffant, wild colors, too 
                     I'd swear

                     Each one was me, for so she'd be, and I'd be a fashionista.
                     I've got to say, this beats it all to hell with hats for Easter.

                     Won the Jaye Giammarino Sonnet Award 2002, Pen Women


                     Woke up this Sunday a.m. feeling bleary around the old wrinkles.
                     Turn up audio on TV tape that talked to me through the night.
                     Soothing voice helps me though my nights.
                     Lo! There's Sister Wendy, that sweet little nun who's the art expert.
                     Sister Wendy is at the Metropolitan Museum, New York City.
                     Nice place. Been there. Was a long time ago?
                     Sister Wendy is telling a story about a delightful objet d'art,
                     I'd tell you what it's properly called, but I can't make out the
                     Something to do with washing hands at table twice a day.

                     Story goes nun tells sounds like this:
                     Young Alexander, hero of Macedonia, conqueror of Persia.
                     Is mad for a Persian houri named Phyllis.
                     His old tutor Aristotle begs him to turn away from her,
                     For "Women are cunning snares," all that stuff.
                     Wails that "she'll spend all your money, run your kingdom for him.
                     She'll lead you around by the nose."

                     "Phyllis is unhappy at hearing this, so," says Sister Wendy,
                     "She smiles and wiles and beguiles, until the old Greek
                     Lusts for her as hotly as the young stud."
                     So the nun's story goes and so this laver is made:
                     It shows Phyllis, dominatrix, sitting comfortably sidesaddle,
                     But the saddle is square on Aristotle's back.

                     The old man on his hands and knees, bridled.
                     Phyllis holds the reins in her right hand, her left familiar on his
                     Aristotle's bearded face is turned away from the water
                     As he looks helplessly towards the camera;
                     And his countenance speaks, ever the teacher:
                     "If she can do this to an old man, educated and wise,
                     What can she not do to you?"

                                     ICARUS FELL SLOWLY

                     Icarus' descent from the grace of the sun                  
                     Was not a hasty fall, headlong through rushing clouds,
                     Through the sun's beams of both light and heat.            

                     The Day's beams reached far and wide, casually encompassing,
                     Illuminating by sharp contrast the beginning downward tumble:
                     Icarus' descent from the grace of the sun.                 

                     A girl remained, a speck on the earth below, hand shading eyes
                     Against Fate's fierce rise; she saw the anger against the interloper
                     Through the sun's beams of both light and heat.            

                     Dawn had loved the his beautiful wings; the promise in his reflected
                     Had been her sustenance until she closer saw the youth's bright face,
                     Saw Icarus' descent from the grace of the sun.             

                     Not only had he not noticed her, but never cared; nothing could match
                     This reveling in risk, the gambling, daring feats of defiance; he
                      Through the sun's beams of both light and heat.               

                     Snarled beams, tangled wings, increasing speed, watchers ignored;
                     Sun-struck hair and clouded eyes offering no charms against light and
                     Though they had appealed to Dawn, whom long ago they had dearly
                     Gnarled Age appeared to him as closer came the ground.

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