Ode to the Elephant

Your sacred image looms large
Painted on the rough canvass of Africa
Traced in the shifting sands of imagination
Etched into the hidden caves of the soul
 
The herd moves as one
Graceful skaters gliding across the shimmering mirage of dusty desert pans
Misty shadows playing hide and seek in the shrouded valley forests
Granite boulders in magical motion over the mottled bushveld plains
 
You are one of Eden’s first-born
Survivor of frozen time
Grown old and wise
Before men learned to crawl
 
The air trembles in harmonic rapture
As you chant your esoteric song
And the earth shudders in shameful guilt
As you trumpet your just anger
 
You are the maker of roads
The planter of gardens
And the builder of dams
 
Your trail of destruction
Is the path of creation
For all that follow in your wake
 
Death brings sorrow and mourning
Life heralds the joy of cheeky youth
In between, an invisible web of caring is strung
And a sacred maze of kith and kin is trod
 
Oh, great icon of this Earth
Memory of our faded past
Conscience of our troubled present
Prophet of our hopeful future
Lead us in your gentle footsteps
To that which is greater than our little selves
 

Wayne Visser © 2002

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