By John Russell Beaumont, Inspired by the poem “The Death of a Toad” by Richard Wilbur

Artist’s Inspiration

I decided to write a song inspired by Wilbur’s “The Death of a Toad” because the poem always puts me in a strange and pensive mood. The poem is almost absurd in the romantic and epic imagery used to describe a simple toad, but it invites deeper thoughts about life, nature, and human consumption. In my composition’s introduction I tried to capture the dissonant tension of the toad coping with its injuries. It moves into a more reflective and harmonious rhythm, reflecting the “deep monotone” the frog approaches in death. The song slowly shifts into darker chords, and ends with the same rhythm as the intro in response to the cyclical nature of life and death, as well as the tendency for even profound moments of reflection to fade and dull with time.

John Russell Beaumont is an architecture student with a specialization in post-conflict and post-disaster housing. He is especially interested in the role that architecture and design play in conditions of poverty. In his spare time, he enjoys painting, composing music, and playing soccer.

This work was published as one of the winners of our 2015 “New Perspectives” Contest.