Yesterday out on the road
I came upon a little toad.

Flattened there by car or truck
A graphic marker of bad luck.

There was no cross beside the road
With vase of flowers for the toad.

The road was hot, the tar like glue
And other things were stuck there too.

We asked the chicken, now the toad
Just why he tried to cross the road?

Was his fair lady over there
When he threw caution to the air?

Would she locate him in this mire
And see the imprints of the tire?

Was I the only one to care
The little toad was lying there?

And when he made his fateful jump
You think the driver felt the bump?

He turned himself into a mummy
Is there a word in toad for “dummy”?

I took my knife and pried him free
And then I took him home with me.

A tiny frisbee with four feet
The imprints really did look neat.

I took some ink and made them darker
How do you like my new book-marker?

When I was in the Air Force, a friend of mine gave me a poem that he claimed his son had written. I always knew that he had written it himself, and kidded him about it. It was the kind of nonsense that my kids and I like and we sort of adopted it as a family poem. All four of my kids can quote it for you today.

A couple of years ago we received a letter that Col Radden had passed away. In his memory, I’m going to quote his poem here so you can see where I got the idea for Bump.

Ode to a Toad

Oh, dirty flattened little toad,
Why did you try to cross the road?
Why did you not perceive the truck
Which was to be your worst bad luck?

I know that your distress was dire
When you looked up to see that tire.
You gathered for a mighty jump,
The driver didn’t feel the bump.

I can see the imprint of the tread;
Oh flattened toad, you sure are dead.

Col James Radden, 1975

Knowing Jim’s sense of humor, I think he would get a chuckle out of Bump.


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