grey autumn day
old toad is back
in the leaky shed
One could hardly imagine a more dismal environment than a leaky shed on a cold grey autumn day; but not for a toad, a leaky shed on such a day would suit very nicely indeed. Given the appellation of ‘old’ to the toad in this haiku one detects some degree of respect and even admiration. The toad seems to be an old friend whose reappearance in the shed is a welcomed thing. One might wonder where the toad has been of late and wonder too what kind of toady things it has been up to. Always glad of anything that invites empathy for the lives of animals however humble and in whatever circumstance I was immediately taken by this heart-warming encounter. Any mention of toads in a literary context is likely to remind us of that well-known characterisation of a toad in none other than Mr Toad from The Wind in the Willows (1908). The haiku here though depicts a much humbler character, a very ordinary toad in very ordinary circumstances, though that is precisely its value; this ordinary toad is none-the-less highly esteemed by the poet who was gladdened by its return on this particular autumn day; all good reason to be enshrined in a haiku.
First published: Raw Nervz IV: 3 (1997)
Selection & comments by Simon Hanson