Treasure Island

Dan Chiasson

(1971 / Vermont / United States)

The Elephant


How to explain my heroic courtesy? I feel
that my body was inflated by a mischievous boy.
Once I was the size of a falcon, lion-sized I was,
once I was not the elephant I find I am.
My pelt sags, and my master scolds me for a botched
trick. I practiced it all night in my tent, so I was
somewhat sleepy. People connect me with sadness
and, often, rationality. Randall Jarrell compared me
to Wallace Stevens, the American poet. I can see it
in the lumbering tercets, but to my mind
I am more like Eliot, a man of Europe, a map
of cultivation. Anyone so ceremonious suffers
breakdowns. I do not like the spectacular experiments
with balance, the high-wire act and cones.
We elephants are images of humility, as when we
undertake our melancholy migrations to die.
Did you know, though, that elephants were taught
to write the Greek alphabet with their hooves?
Worn out by suffering, we lie on our great backs,
tossing grass up to heaven—as a distraction, not a prayer.
That's not humility you see, on our long final journeys:
that's procrastination. It hurts my heavy body to lie down.

Submitted: Thursday, April 03, 2014
Edited: Thursday, April 03, 2014

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

What do you think this poem is about?



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 (The Elephant by Dan Chiasson )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Haiku- Anchor, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
  2. Luna Plena, Mihaela Pirjol
  3. I Sink Inside You, Asit Kumar Sanyal
  4. Buddy, Francie Lynch
  5. Love (Haiku), Jesus James Llorico
  6. some thing about you, akash mazumdar
  7. Shanghai breeze (I), Cigeng Zhang
  8. thinkings, akash mazumdar
  9. Momentous Days, Francie Lynch
  10. Haiku- Riddle, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK

Poem of the Day

poet Robert Louis Stevenson

AT last she comes, O never more
In this dear patience of my pain
To leave me lonely as before,
Or leave my soul alone again.... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  6. If, Rudyard Kipling
  7. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  8. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  9. All the World's a Stage, William Shakespeare
  10. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]