Week 38 – entries and results

Week 38- Photograph by Chris Sims


This week seven poets tackled the visual prompt above in very different ways. Some focusing on environmental issues, others taking an oblique or humorous stance. The winning poem was Elephant in the Room, which captured the most votes. Congratulations to April.

Poem 1

The Elephant Mooches  


Look who is wading

in the loveliest of blue

faint light on water


Johanna Boal


Poem 2



Alone his feet track the arena

every step. hounded

chained by arms of blue clamping

every exhausted step.


The herd”s deserted, his wives

lye ion beds of rivals

hissing leaves  speed his departure


to  the certainty of death..


Carolyn O’Connell


Poem 3

Diary of a River


He breaks away from the herd,

brave young bull.


The matriarch bellows goodbye;

perhaps to her only son.


I feel his splash-thump steps,

before he trunks me

over his parched-leather hide;

I’m too shallow to swim in you see.


Part of me ripples

towards the scorched shore,

and there I see them:

khaki-killing machines,

crouched-aiming cruelty;

takers of life.


Bright sunlight catches

the white one’s Rolex;


a blood-tourist.


The poor hearing herbivore

paddles and grunts,

blind to the bead drawn on him,

as I do my best to cool his feet.


“Good munee in dem tusks, Sabib”,

the Mahout turned traitor whispers.


More paddling.  More grunts;

just an oblivious silhouette

on my blue.


Tomas Bird


Poem 4

After Drought


Still half dreaming, the elephant wakes knee-deep

In sunbeam-flecked water, flaked light.

He wakes and wades in the blue.

The drought is done.

Now monsoon rains have come.


He feels his weight shift, that great heart

Still lodged deep in his chest, though slower now,

Uplifted, loosening, no longer strained, drained

In the trek, the blistering trek,

The trek for waterholes through the parched plains,

Through savannas murmuring his mother’s memories.

The drought is done.

Now monsoon rains have come.


On the water’s edge, a lean, lone heron screeches,

“New riches! Riches here!” then spears its prey.

But the elephant’s pads sink lazily,

So easily into the silk-soft silt

Where the only other sounds

(Once the heron’s flapping wing-beats fade)

Are grasses pushing shining blades

Above hushed ripples and water slipping,

Lapping under blue light.

The drought is done.

Now monsoon rains have come.


Extending his delicate trunk, he tickles the water; tastes it; draws it;

Tosses and sprays it over his back.

Drinks deep.

No more sleep-walking

In desert heat!

Replenished, he will go seek

His mother, cousins, sisters.

Last true emperor of India,

He blows his trumpet

And is answered by angels

On the far side, the far shore of the flood.

All the good days are here again.

The drought is done.

Now monsoon rains have come.


Lizzie Ballagher


Poem 5

Elephant in The Room


There’s an elephant in the room.
Can we kick him out?

I don’t like the way he looks at me.


That elephant, he follows
wherever I go.

I can’t seem to shake him.


They all want to talk about it,
all except him.
He’s done talking.


Will this teasing elephant
ever go away,
or will he move in with us?


Maybe he’ll join me
at work, at play
and stand behind all of my conversations.


I’ll go away – some new place
and it’ll come too
my elephant shadow.


A friend sees the elephant
while we stand and smoke
and pretends it was never there.


April Nicholas


Poem 6

the last of his kind

Stepping out of the water

The representative of our failures

Trails sparkling drops,

Like the lost stages of his evolution;

He is going no further.


In a world that doesn’t need him

he steps out of natural history

towards a future we never intended

but would not avoid;

the last of his kind.


Michael Docker


Poem 7

Nellie Has Packed Her Trunk …


We are such unruly upstarts, with our

peremptory snorting. We stamp through

the landscape with murderous feet, carve

ivory trinkets for the congenitally pointless,

raze the bush and create little more

than chaos and desert in its wake.


We should have more fun. We should

roll about in mud and squirt water fountains,

splash the day away in a clear blue lagoon.

Like elephants that sing their silent songs

across the vast savannah, we should go

in quiet wonder where they walk the earth

with dignity. How we must grieve them


with our little hearts and digital cameras.

We have machines to capture beauty

now our eyes fail to see, so busy are we

with poaching, burning and overall destruction.

Our world-view lacks the necessary pixels

for grace. We are circus clowns.


Shirley Wright