Sicilian Elephants

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As I try to interpret the evidence

of bones shrunk to a homelier scale,

I imagine their vast migrations.

Keeping in step with a pillar

of dust, they lumbered stoically

from one mirage to the next.


For how many more thousands

of years could hunger lead them on

across parched wilderness,

salt-scorched and scrawled

with thorny growth – a whisper

of water in the skirr of wings?


A sense of kinship their greatest

strength, each family group

was focused on who they were

and how to stick together, remembering

mornings that dampened briefly,

the nights when sun desisted.


There were generations

they had left behind – stripped

and whitened beneath rapacious

sky – while they plodded onwards

beyond the roar of tides

that cool but cannot slake you.


Slowly gradients altered

and the sea wiped their footprints

till they were corralled in a short-lived

paradise of sweet leaves, springs

and wholesome shade: their needs

unsustainable; their bulk a burden.



◄ The Forbury Gardens

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Shifa Maqba

Thu 25th Jun 2020 17:13

Superb! Your poem is both a lexical and visual treat.

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