Elephant Ride, Jaipur - Poem by Sheena Blackhall
Then the mahout nudged the elephant over the flags
Wet and slippy with dung and trampled leaves
This animal carriage, painted with stars and moons
Flapped her enormous ears and curled her trunk
Up like her turbanned master's relentless grin
Dripping with rain, white knuckles gripped the howdah.
Behind the mahout's head with its crimson bandage
His white suit, almost clean,
From the sky's trap door the monsoon falls in sheets.
A frenzy of hawkers dog the elephant's sway
Puppets, madam, the cheapest in Jaipur!
My name is Tony, I take your photo:
Click! Bangles? Earrings? Fit for a Maharani!
Spooked by hustlers, hawkers snapping round like wolves
Leaping, waving trinkets of wood or leather
Tourists are tills, the hagglers smell our money
We count our notes,
Penned in the rank howdah
Foreign currency making a fraught exchange
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