Our Powerful Hidden Selves

Toby is a Crocodile (by Dr. Barbara Nichol)

When you see him in his basket, Toby seems to be asleep.
But though his eyes are closed, our Toby isn’t counting sheep.
I have for you the kind of news you won’t hear every day —
Not only is he wide awake, he’s very far away.
While you might hear outside the distant sound of passing feet,
In Toby’s ears there throbs a most exotic jungle beat.

For oftentimes the self inside is not the self that shows.
Oh, Toby is a crocodile, but only Toby knows.

Where you see just a muzzle there are terrible swift jaws.
And he has ghastly talons where you see just fuzzy paws.
Despite the false impression that his furry coat creates,
Toby’s covered nose to tail in thick and horny plates.
You might not see the reptile in the basket by the chair,
But that you do not see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

For oftentimes the self inside is not the self that shows.
Oh, Toby is a crocodile, but only Toby knows.

His teeth are sharp as razors and his eyes are sharp as teeth.
A sunny surface has this dog, with darker depths beneath.
The fish dive to the riverbed, the birds are mute with fear.
Not any beast, however cruel, would ever dare go near.
And so, while Toby seems to doze unmoving on the floor,
He slips into the water and he glides away from shore.

For oftentimes the self inside is not the self that shows.
Oh, Toby is a crocodile, but only Toby knows.

Biscuits in the Cupboard, Barbara Nichol.
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1997.

About Andrea

Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

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