Toad Man by Lynda Turbet

Toad Man

They seek me out from fear; I know their need.
Word spreads; my wisdom’s white.
Give me your hand. Cow dung for wounds.
And yarrow, known as staunchweed, stems the flow.
For croup, garlic and honey – or with fennel I can win a maiden’s fancy,
leading her heart to love.
What’s stolen can be found again; the guilty shamed.
At dusk the women come, for pennyroyal.
I know why. Too many mouths to feed, is all.
I can keep silence.

My father was a Cunning Man, and his before,
or Toad Man, as we say.
You kill the toad and let its flesh be stripped by ants,
its bone thrown by night in running water.
The ritual’s passed down: the magic chain.
Here. Take this bag and wear it by your skin.
I know your need, your fear.

Lynda Turbet observes the world from rural Norfolk after decades living and working in Scotland and the north of England, and is now trying to make sense of it all through writing.


  1. Great stuff . Said your poetry should be in print. It’s a haunting and powerful poem. Has an Elizabethan tone- very appropriate in this year of the bard.


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