The Elephant Poem by Carlos Drummond de Andrade

The Elephant

Rating: 4.0

I create an elephant
of my scarce resources.
Some pieces of wood
taken of old furniture
might keep him straight.
And I fill him up with cotton,
silk and sweetness.
The glue will fast
his saggy ears.
The trunk curls
and it is the happiest part
of his architecture.
But there are also the tusks,
made of such a pure material
that I can not duplicate.
Such a white this richness
exposed in the circus
without loss or corruption.
And finally the eyes,
where is held
the most fluid and permanent
part of the elephant,
disconnected of every fraud.
Here, my poor elephant,
ready to leave
and search for friends
in a world already tired
that no longer believes in animals
and doubts things.
Here he is, puissant and
fragile mass, winnows himself
and moves slow
his sewed skin
where flowers of cloth
and clouds are allusions
to a more poetic world
where love retakes the natural forms.

There goes my elephant
through a crowded street,
but they do not want to see him
even not to laugh
at his tail, which might
leave him walking alone.
He is all grace, although
his legs are not of much help
and his big belly
threatens to fall off
at the slightest touch.
He shows with elegance
his minimal life,
and in town,
there is no soul willing
to take from that sensitive body
his fugacious image,
the clumsy steps,
yet hungry and touching.

But hungry for pathetic
beings and situations,
for encounters under the moonlight
in the deepest ocean,
under the roots of trees
or in the centre of the shells,
for lights that do not blind
as they shine through
the most thick trunks.
This step that goes
without crushing the plants
in the battle field,
searching for places,
secrets, episodes
not written in books,
which only the wind,
the leaves, the ants
recognize the style
while the men ignore it,
for they only dare to show themselves
under the peace of a curtain
to their tired eyelid.

And late in the night
my elephant returns,
returns tired,
the uncertain feet
melt in the dust.
He did not find
what he needed,
what we needed,
I and my elephant,
in which I love to disguise myself.
Exhausted of searching,
his engine falls down
as if it was a mere piece of paper.
The glue dissolves,
and all his inner material,
the forgiveness, the caress,
the feather, the cotton
spill over the carpet
like a dismembered myth.
Tomorrow I begin again.

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