Archives for posts with tag: elephants

A poem from my new collection, All Weathers, for the SPCA, about to be published, featuring mainly dogs and cats but implying support for all animals – including, as here, rhinos. More details soon.

What we should have

A world run by rhinos, or dogs, or elephants –
a world based on heart and head, not intellect alone,
a world without guns.

‘Swords into ploughshares’ is the injunction,
but I’d like to see ‘guns into cameras’:
shoot all you want, but take only the image, never the life

and have the decency, the modesty,
the essential humanity to learn of peace
from rhinos, loyalty from dogs, intelligence
from elephants – and the meaning of love
from all of them.

Harry Owen

Rhinos are certainly not the only African animals whose very existence is threatened by poaching and unregulated hunting. African elephants continue to be slaughtered for their ivory, much of which is in commercial demand abroad.

Here, in another fine poem from the rhino anthology, UK poet Alison Lock reminds us of our own responsibility to help preserve these fabulous creatures. ‘Don’t buy ivory!’ is the powerful and essential message.

The Trunk

She gave me a string

of rosebuds, cream,

scented with almonds


inherited from an uncle

who’d stalked

the plains of Africa.


Too heavy

for my sapling neck

they adorned my doll


Angelina, and when

the threading

cord had broken


I placed them in a trunk

where they lay

for years until the day


when a man on the TV

pointed to a carcass

captured, de-tusked


discarded by poachers.

Tipping over the trunk

I let the ivory beads run free.

Alison Lock

Wisdom of the Elephants


There’s more to our bones

than curved hunting ivory.

At two years old we lose

our first four teeth,

then gain five more spade sets,

each set stronger and more elaborate.


On the savannah we grind rough bark,

roots, leaves and young grass.

Each year a brick-sized molar

retires, and a new one

fills in from the back.

But when the last gives,


That’s it. We’ll turn,

follow the wisdom of the wind –

with the strange thoughts

solitary dreamers may have –

and remember, with fondness:


each river, each plain,

each star, before reaching

down to the brown water’s edge

with a silent, almost

moist-eyed reckoning.


Jennifer Wong