In the poem, The Death of a Toad, Richard Wilbur wrote about the odyssey of a toad whose untimely death came about because of a lawn mower while trying to reach the other side. He wrote to convince his audience of mature readers that there exists a thrashing struggle between man and nature, and in order to do so, he used symbolism and his diction was centered around a melancholy and remorseful theme. .

The writer's tone is one of inevitable despair for nature. Inevitable, because the toad sees that the "day dwindles, drowning, and at length, is gone-. It knows that the end is coming, and there's nothing he can do about it. This sets the stage for the overall theme of the poem. .

His elaborate use of symbolism is what made this beautiful piece of literature a poem "he crammed so much meaning and power into one line and made everything about man versus nature unite while still being elegant and not letting his depression take over his writing style. What a balance act. Superficially, the poem is about a lone toad that went to cross the lawn in order to reach a haven, but allegorically .

The toad is a representation of nature and its state today. It is but an insignificant creature in a vast world of technology and pollution, both spawn of humankind that are willing to take it out when the need is called for. .

The power mower is the villain of the poem. Even though it is a machine and is incapable of thinking, it still causes destruction to nature, regardless of what the consequences are. In the same light, man may not know what he is doing to harm nature, but does he care? .

The destination of the little toad, the haven at the end of the lawn, is symbolism for a new day, a place better than here where there are no power mowers (or humans) to ruin everything. This is the human concept of heaven. Here, the author's use of imagery created a picture of a cemetery, or, a paradise. By saying cineraria leaves (which came from the word that means holding the ashes of a burnt body), shade, dim, and final glade, he created a gloomy and spooky feel for the destination "in effect, death.