This poem is an excerpt from my book, “Wild Writers: The Animal World’s Greatest Poets”.
An elephant never forgets her early years,
The long walks with the herd are nostalgic,
For they left footprints in her heart;
Memories of eras long-gone in the forests
Etched deep in the soul of the wanderer.
My mother would let me follow her
Everywhere she went
When I was younger,
We would play in the jungle together.
She loved me. I adored her.
We swam in the river innocently,
Just mother and calf.
The river was wide,
But our dreams were wider.
I thought I was wise;
She was wiser.
The crocodiles we encountered
Met the stomps of my guardian;
How quickly they fled from her.
Not even the proudest lion or
The most determined tiger
Could evade Mom’s inexorable strength.
One charge from her tusks
Could impale all that challenged at distance’s length.
A Matriarch’s wrath – her love – made all predators shudder.
Defenseless as I was, she was a tender mother.
Her wisdom welled up from a grieving soul,
Because her parents left her with a gaping hole;
They were poached for their teeth.
We know ivory is the treasure that savages keep.
Man’s plunder knew no bounds;
They killed us without a second glance,
Without knowing we were intelligent, too,
And that all we needed was a chance
To not be bothered anymore.
I am still a growing calf;
My Matriarch protects our jaded herd with a muffled laugh.
The trumpet is the signal,
Not just a warning, but a reminder
That gives music to times that were less complicated,
My Mom and I are inseparable;
We love each other’s company as much as life itself.
Where she goes, I go.
Wherever I go, she is there.
I will follow her to the end of the world – everywhere.
An elephant never forgets her days as a calf.
The joys cut the sorrows of the past and of countless tomorrows.
It is clear as the savannah skies
That we have dreams unrealized.
Long treks with Mother left footprints in my heart.
Her beauty, grace, and love kept the herd from falling apart.
For it is in my older years that I remember her best.
With great fondness and grief I wander
As if I am still a child,
Living free and running wild.
She will never die because mothers never do.
They nurture us so that we can walk with respect.
Our attitudes toward them become our behaviors.
As I pass through the Orchid Grove in the Acacia Highlands,
I drink from the river where we once played together.
Blood is thicker than water;
Innocence is bliss. There is nothing as precious as this.