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