Saturday, November 28, 2009

This is not an elephant

"This is not an elephant,"
he confides to the child
as they oval round
captive creatures foreign
and featured in glassy habitats.

"See those four stout stumps
with their loose-pebble bottoms,
rooting him to the dust-bound earth
where his great girth grows?"
"Do you mean its legs?"

"Then pay attention to the gray
veined fans that swat and sway
to push away midges nibbling
heat into his giant's skull."
"Aren't those just ears?"

"There are twin ivory tines
he uses to stab and dine on
tightly packaged meals
the forest's cunning seals for him."
"I thought they were tusks?"

"Last, note his accordion's
appendage that dangles down
to fleet wrestle and greet
with a snicker or a shout."
"Grandpa, the sign says,

'Elephant'! What do you call it?"
"That's a little tidbit
he's never shared with me,
but I do know him to be
much more than his name."


Anonymous said...


it was pure pleasure reading this poem. there is a strong surreal feeling and i started to think about wild elephant trumpets.

lovely artwork too. are you the artist?

Francis Scudellari said...

Thanks. I wasn't sure if the tone would work. And yes, the it's my drawing.

Jenny said...


I really like the musicality here (and in your other poems as well). This creates interesting dimensions to the words.

The third stanza is my favorite part.

Oh, and the artwork is great. I like the style.

Megan Duffy said...

I love the reversal of cognition here. The child seeks the finite, the adult offers whimsy. This how it should be. This is the only way around "our glassy habitats."

Francis Scudellari said...

Thanks Jenny. I like the third stanza best. I was going for a pseudo-Seuss sound, although a bit more irregular. I actually came up with the drawing and title first, and then wrote the poem in response.

Megan, that's the very conclusion I've been coming to in trying to escape my own.

Ande said...

a wonderful surreal feeling about this poem. I love your painting.

Francis Scudellari said...

Thanks Ande.