Monday, March 16, 2009

" the engendering of toads"


Sometimes I think I get a bit too Hello-clouds-hello-sky-robins-and-roses about nature, especially at this time of year. The perfect antidote to this is toad-spawning time. I seem to remember I did quite a sweet little poem and picture about this a while back, but frankly, it's fairly vile. Someone on a blog somewhere expressed this kind of thing as 'miserable ecstasy', which describes pretty well the toads' approach to the matter. The couple above look quite happy, but it gets worse.

I could cope with the multiple partners, it's the necrophilia that turns me up. One gets the impression that the big old females use most of their remaining energy just getting to the pond, and the final spasm of mating and spawning finishes them off. The males don't seem to notice.

I can't believe I'm posting this. And this is supposed to be a pretty blog. Lovely toad-phobic sister will probably never read again.

The title quote is from 'Troilus and Cressida'. "I do hate a proud man, as I hate the engendering of toads" says Ajax, the proud and stupid bully. Evidently the spectacle had made an impression on Shakespeare at some point. For some reason the line stayed in my mind. I set out to read my way through the canon in my 17th year, and did fairly well, though I stalled when I got to 'Titus Andronicus', speaking of gross-out experiences. Ned Sherrin, I think, told an anecdote about going to an inevitably unsparing performance of that play at Stratford, and overhearing a husband saying to his wife on the way out 'Now all we need is to find the dog's been sick in the car.'

Anyway, I promise to post something tasteful very soon.

15 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Gee. Frogs and Shakespeare!

marja-leena said...

I didn't know about the necrophilia amongst toads! Of course you could say that about the salmon...

Don't worry, Lucy, it's good to mix some harsher realities amidst the beauty, isn't that what great literature and art do?

Rosie said...

you did promise me some slime...and delivered

herhimnbryn said...

Toads, Shakespeare and Ned Sherrin. Don't stop.......

Zhoen said...

Nah, I like this.


But then, I would.

christopher said...

Me too, I like tracking back and I like this too, pretty close to full lol.

HLiza said...

Don't know much about toads..but the photo is amazing.

Freya said...

No, no - that was a most enjoyable post, I assure you.

Barrett Bonden said...

Dunno why you're so hard on toads. A pair of country copulatives (Touchstone, AYLI) shot with the same unfeeling camera would hardly be any more enlightening. I agree about necrophilia, though. Takes the edge off rumpy-pumpy

Rouchswalwe said...

Sometimes it's important to get the full picture, warts and all, in order to appreciate the really good stuff.

Crafty Green Poet said...

yes it can all be a bit much can't it...

Dick said...

I loved it. More reptilian necrophilia, please, Lucy. Plus pics, of course.

Lucy said...

Hmm. Either I failed to cpnvey the full unpleasantness of necrophiliac toads cavorting in my garden pond, or else some of you are rather strange...
:~)
I hadn't really thought about the salmon in the same way; when they say they go upriver to spawn and die, I assumed it is at least in that order.

Also there's somehow the matter of orders of life; amphibians being that bit up the ladder their activities seem therefore nearer to our own. They have little hands, unlike fish, with which they cling on...

Ugh, enough already!

Michelle said...

It is a good photo, Lucy, even if I do end up dreaming I'm drowning in spawn tonight. Ugh.

Bee said...

Well, nature does have a cruel streak,too -- and a pretty wide one at that.

I'm very impressed that you noticed (much less remembered) that Shakespearean line. What an original mind he had! No matter how often it is said, it doesn't make it less true.