Toad Ode

by Susan J. Bryant (October 2023)

Frog and Pond
, Fredlin Tor Otto, 1940


O warty dweller of the weedy pond,
O cauldron-dodging lodger of the lake,
My happy-ending heart has grown so fond
Of craggy clamminess, I plan to take
An algae night to swim in bulgy eyes
While basking in the choruses you croak.
If pussycats and owls can dine on quince
And float their pea-green boats to heaven highs,
Then I can plant a wince-free kiss to smoke
Your chilly lips and free your inner prince.

I’ve met a ton of toads, but none like you,
O legend of the frilly lily pad.
They wowed and wooed and cooed and left me blue—
All armed with charm that hid a tad of cad.
Each peachy paramour assailed my eye
With weapons of the flash and dashing kind—
A scorching thrust of lust that left love dead.
And that, O dumpy, dimply one, is why
My inner princess surfaced just to find …
You … the toad I’m owed … the prince I’ll wed.

Oh dear, I fear my awestruck heart’s forsaken.
I’ve puckered up with pluck and now it seems
I’m out of luck; your inner prince won’t waken—
A snoring schmuck has dashed my princess dreams.
O crinkled critter of the realm of reeds,
O soggy squatter of the swampy sphere,
I’ve snogged you at the bottom of your bog
Yet you can’t meet my doleful-damsel needs.
I now assume a suitor won’t appear
Unless I slip your grip and kiss a frog.


Table of Contents


Susan Jarvis Bryant is originally from the U.K., but now lives on the coastal plains of Texas. Susan has poetry published on The Society of Classical Poets, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in The Lyric, Trinacria, and Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems and Extreme Sonnets II anthologies. Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition and was nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize. She has just published her first two books, Elephants Unleashed and Fern Feathered Edges.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast



5 Responses

  1. Welcome, welcome, welcome, Susan!

    I’m so glad to see you here. Your unique combination of rich, sensuous language, rhythm, rhymes and off-beat humour never fails. And doesn’t on this occasion either.

    You’ve freed my inner prince!

    Thank you.



    1. Dear Warty,
      I’m thrilled to have freed your inner prince… I think I caught a glimpse of him on a double-decker bus speeding through Wandsworth one starlit evening. I’m happy to be in such good company at the New English Review.

      Thank you for your support and inspiration,
      Princess Susan 😉

  2. Dear Princess,
    That was him alright. Probably up to no good as usual!
    In fact, thinking how much joy you could bring, I had been thinking how to get you to submit your poems here. So it was a very pleasant surprise to see your name on this month’s list of contributors.
    Once more, welcome.

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