Tag Archives: Ethiopian elephant

First Death


Do you remember

the first time

you and Death


I do.

You were seven

 We moved to Wiltshire farmland

an old stone and brick house

built upon an underground river

a seventeeth century pub

and the river ran

through the cellar

to keep the spirits cool

but it kept us cold and damp

 No heaters, just coal grates

one in each of the two

ground floor rooms

no fires to warm the upstairs

where we slept

where icicles gathered

on your father’s whiskers

in those long winter nights

and where oil lamps

gave more heat than light

The wind always whistled

across the chimneys

and through our bones

even in the midst of summer

~ * ~ 

Just over the rise,

on Lord Bath’s park estate,

animals roamed free,

outside the tunnel cages

built for people

Here a baby elephant,

named Zola Bud

an Ethiopian famine-rescue

brought to a queen’s land

lived amongst giraffes,

one-hump camels

and a little girl of seven


Zola and the child,

sisters at play

one carried the bucket

the other trotted behind

trunk on shoulder

like a child’s extended arm

elephant shadowing

everywhere the child went


One warm spring day

released to the sun

and allowed to play

she fell into the bog

her heart, still frail

scarred from starvation

stopped its sweet beating

 Do you remember?

The only shadow

that followed you then

was Death

your first one

an Ethiopian elephant

silent and spent


http://magpietales.blogspot.com/ Mag 34  The Oil Lamp

Photos courtesy of google images


Filed under Poetry