Study Guide

Toads Stanza 2

By Philip Larkin

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Stanza 2

Lines 5-8

Six days of the week it soils
      With its sickening poison—
Just for paying a few bills!
      That's out of proportion.

  • The second stanza gives some examples of why this work-filled life is such a drag.
  • First of all, there's just way too much of it. The speaker complains that "six days of the week" are soiled, ruined, by that ugly toad work.
  • It turns out that not only is the toad a "brute," he's also poisonous. This toad is definitely not safe for kissing.
  • The speaker seems miffed by the work itself and also by why he has to do it: "Just for paying a few bills!"
  • It's not like this work is making him rich or famous. He has to do all this work just to get by. It's just way too much work for way too little benefit—totally "out of proportion."
  • What does stanza 1 have in common with stanza 2? If you said, "They're part of the same poem," then that's, well, correct.
  • But we were hoping you'd dig a little deeper. For example, they both have four lines.
  • Four line stanzas, especially when they rhyme, can be referred to as quatrains. Get used to it. A quick glance ahead shows us that this poem is made up of nine of these neat little units.

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