An Eye for Beauty

This month Michelle Heidenrich Barnes has the spotlight on Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group.

Poetry and lyrical language can help to take a nonfiction topic that might not be inherently interesting to certain kids (or adults) and offer them new ways to understand and appreciate it.

I recommend you skip across for a read, because it’s in-depth, insightful and inspiring. Thank-you so much to Michelle and Carol for sharing.

The challenge for the month on Today’s Little Ditty (as a result of that post) is; write a poem that finds beauty in something that is not usually considered beautiful.

© Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved.

After the rain the summer night rings with a cacophonous chorus of courting creatures – but it was only recently that I learnt that the particularly mellow/melodic burble that both delights and drives me a little crazy (keeping me wired when I’m trying to relax into sleep…) is … the invasive cane toad! And who knew, until peeping at this pic, that toads have such a jewel of an eye? An eye for beauty? In the eye of the beholder?

I also didn’t know, until recently, that America shares Australia’s problem with the cane toad, following it’s introduction (there too) for control of cane beetles. And here I thought we were alone in that silly mistake.

Jane the Raincity Librarian will be singing her own sweet songs this week, hosting the Poetry Friday round-up and celebrating the recent release of her picture book, ‘Wild One’.







  1. That eye is a jewel, isn’t it? What a fun poem to read. So many rich sounds with thrum and drum, thrill, trill. A spot-on answer to the challenge. I didn’t realize that cane toads were in the US. Might have to learn more about that!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just took a pic of an errant grasshopper and up close, it too, holds some grandeur, like your cane toad. Nevertheless, as you wrote, its song has not the beauty of song birds. Fun to hear about, Kat!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those invasive critters (and plants–like the kudzu that threatens to eat the US South alive after being brought in to control erosion) can cause lots of trouble, but your poem highlights this fellow’s good features. That eye is a jewel as are lines like “burbling leathery love songs.”

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  4. Oh my mixd feelings as I read his. My part of Australia is, as yet, untouched by the toads, but they get ever closer. And, when I lived in Papua New Guinea they were there, again an introduced pest. Yet, no living creaure is really to blam:they are just doing what they need to do to survive. Great poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, Sally. I used to loathe toads – until (as a girl) I read a poem from the toad’s perspective. And felt so sorry for them… I heard recently that they’re trialling introducing toadpoles and toadlets ahead of the mega-toads that lead the charge across Australia. That way, native wildlife eat the less toxic younger toads first – and build up an immunity, before encountering the big beasts. But it also means that it is inevitable that they spread… :\


  5. I don’t know much about cane toads in the US – saw something when I was reading, recently. A quick google would seem to indicate they occur naturally in some American states – but they were introduced into Florida, like Australia, for control of sugar cane pests. Alas, the cane beetle they were supposed to eat in Australia lives high on the cane stalk – and toads can’t climb or fly. So… they proved ineffectual. And highly toxic to native wildlife, which have no immunity. But – to me they are synonymous with the sounds of summer.


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