Treasure Island

George Bradley

(1953 / Roslyn, New York)

Electrocuting an Elephant


Her handlers, dressed in vests and flannel pants,
Step forward in the weak winter light
Leading a behemoth among elephants,
Topsy, to another exhibition site;
Caparisoned with leather bridle,
Six impassive tons of carnival delight
Shambles on among spectators who sidle
Nervously off, for the brute has killed
At least three men, most recently an idle
Hanger-on at shows, who, given to distilled
Diversions, fed her a live cigar.
Since become a beast of burden, Topsy thrilled
The crowds in her palmy days, and soon will star
Once more, in an electrocution,
Which incident, though it someday seem bizarre,
Is now a new idea in execution.

Topsy has been fed an unaccustomed treat,
A few carrots laced with cyanide,
And copper plates have been fastened to her feet,
Wired to cables running off on either side;
She stamps two times in irritation,
Then waits, for elephants, having a thick hide,
Know how to be patient. The situation
Seems dreamlike, till someone throws a switch,
And the huge body shakes for the duration
Of five or six unending seconds, in which
Smoke rises and Topsy's trunk contracts
And twelve thousand mammoth pounds finally pitch
To earth, as the current breaks and all relax.
It is a scene shot with shades of grey—
The smoke, the animal, the reported facts—
On a seasonably grey and gloomy day.

Would you care to see any of that again?
See it as many times as you please,
For an electrician, Thomas Edison,
Has had a bright idea we call the movies,
And called on for monitory spark,
Has preserved it all in framed transparencies
That are clear as day, for all the day is dark.
You might be amused on second glance
To note the background—it's an amusement park!—
A site on Coney Island where elephants
Are being used in the construction,
And where Topsy, through a keeper's negligence,
Got loose, causing some property destruction,
And so is shown to posterity,
A study in images and conduction,
Sunday, January 4th, 1903.

Submitted: Friday, April 06, 2012

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Electrocuting an Elephant by George Bradley )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. No Tears For Me, vince gullaci
  2. season of fall autumn, binod bastola
  3. Coming to you I said, gajanan mishra
  4. Smell the RosesT, Bill Cantrell
  5. I Invited You To Visit, Lawrence S. Pertillar
  6. A New Freedom, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  7. Bluened Tones, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  8. Y/.. Thirst, Aufie Zophy
  9. Enchanting Essence And Passion, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  10. Y/.. Much more, Aufie Zophy

Poem of the Day

poet Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Ernest G Moll

 

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]