In the poem "The Death of a Toad" by Richard Wilbur, the author elaborates on the death of a single toad that unfortunately was caught by a lawn mower. Using elements such as diction and imagery, the author exposes his feelings for the tragedy. However, the author's feeling is one of envy and relief rather than pity and remorse. The tranquil mood of this poem conveys death as smooth and effortless. The toad is not reluctant. The author sees death as a release from the burdens of life. .
The diction of "The Death of a Toad", at first sets a mood of gore as the author describes the toad as "chewed and clipped of a leg". This harsh mood instantly transitions itself into one that is soothing and calm thorough the specific word choices the author uses to describe the garden verge. Diction such as dim shade used in lines 3-6 elaborates on the garden verge not as a grave, but as a sanctuary. In the second stanza, the author continues to set a tranquil mood using soft diction even through the initial death of the toad. Death released the toad from its agony. "And soundlessly attending, dies towards some deep monotone," implies that death came quietly and without resistance. .
The poem's structure is also very effective in determining the author's response to the toad's death. This poem was broken down into three stanzas. The first stanza initiates the actual death of the toad. The author only devoted lines 1 and 2 to the accident itself, then immediately draws his attention on the aftermath. The second stanza, like the first, starts off with the bleeding of the toad. It ends calmly as death peacefully takes over. The third stanza however, is entirely devoted to the toad after death. It is in this stanza that the author makes his statement clear. He describes "toad heaven" as one of ebullient seas and peaceful surroundings. He also uses daylight as a metaphor for life in this stanza.
Through the author's use of diction and structure, it is evident that he envies death.