Elephants and the poetry of elephants

I am delighted to have two poems included in Becky Gethin’s anthology featured on her website and reposted here:

A Poetry of Elephants

If you press this – A Poetry of Elephants –  you will find our anthology of elephant poems. So here’s huge thanks and grateful hugs to all the many contributors: I never envisaged so many lovely poems would  respond to my call-out!  Twenty four poets have sent twenty nine poems in about a fortnight. Please feel free to share this with anyone and everyone.

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When I went to Saba Douglas-Hamilton’s inspiring talk about her organisation ‘Save the Elephants’ she said that we should all do what we can and that made me think of putting together a collection of elephant poems to explore ways in which elephants are a vital part of our culture even though we are not living in elephant habitat. A week ago Kenya set fire to 11 pyres of elephant tusks which I read represents 30 miles of elephant, standing trunk to tail.  I desperately hope that was the right thing to do but it is a hugely significant symbolic gesture on the part of the Kenyan government. If only governments both European, Asian and African just said No to dealing with those countries who harm elephants.

I do hope this works, that you can see this and that you like it. Amazing to see what elephants mean to us all.

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I shall also be sending this to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (they have asked me to do so)  just so that you know.  Also, the Born Free Foundation and Save the Elephants.   Now we just need to find the poachers’ facebook pages and our poems will have the whole problem knocked on the head.

 

 

A Poetry of Elephants can be found at http://issuu.com/rebeccagethin/docs/a_poetry_of_elephants_0ef74ad25cc6bc?e=24753786/35494689

A May Tree for Beltane blessing

 

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Moorland Hawthorn

 

 

For you are ancient and withstand terrible weathers.

For you make a dark shape in winter, carry a nest.

For I saw you sheathed in frozen snow, your berries hoar.

For you grow on the crest of a slope.

For you are potent, with medicinal properties.

Wands made from you hold great power.

For in spring you are covered in white blossom.

For you are the May tree and shake confetti on the girls,

who dance around your trunk.

For you are most erotic and bless love and fertility.

For you teem with life, insects that fly and crawl, lichen

and every kind of bird wants to shelter in your branches.

For you fill with the hum of bees.

For you must never be broken, nor taken home,

For you are hope, which remains wild.

For you have thorns and red berries, which imbue meaning,

though children make itching powder, babies are fed your syrup.

For you offer protection.

For you are grizzled and grow low to the ground.

 

poem and photograph Rose Cook

 

I have a poem in this wonderful anthology produced by Three Drops from a Cauldron Beltane 2016

 

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The e-issue of the Beltane 2016 special is out now!
(Print to follow later today).

Featuring work by Clint Wastling, Alexandra Carr-Malcolm, Rachel Bower, Tim Dwyer, Maggie Mackay, Karen Jane Cannon, Gareth Writer-Davies, Rex Davies, Liz Ferrets, Amy Kinsman, Margaret Holbrook, Sarah L. Dixon, Carole Bromley, Ness Owen, Phoebe Nicholson, Linda Ann Suddarth, Vicki Morley, Mary Franklin, Seth Crook, Angi Holden, Joanne Key, Jane Røken, Oz Hardwick, Andie Berryman, Sally Spedding, Rebecca Gethin, Margaryta Golovchenko, Sue Kindon, Caroline Hardaker, Dennis Trujillo, Rose Cook, David J. Costello, Barbara O’Donnell, Rachel McGladdery, & Alison Stone.
Open publication – Free publishing

Find it here: http://threedropspoetry.co.uk/2016/04/08/three-drops-from-a-cauldron-beltane-2016-special/

 

 

photograph Rose Cook

Spring is begun again

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The Trees    by Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

photograph Rose Cook

Celebrating all women – mothers and daughters – on International Womens’ Day

 

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The Pomegranate                                by Eavan Boland

 

The only legend I have ever loved is
the story of a daughter lost in hell.
And found and rescued there.
Love and blackmail are the gist of it.
Ceres and Persephone the names.
And the best thing about the legend is
I can enter it anywhere. And have.
As a child in exile in
a city of fogs and strange consonants,
I read it first and at first I was
an exiled child in the crackling dusk of
the underworld, the stars blighted. Later
I walked out in a summer twilight
searching for my daughter at bed-time.
When she came running I was ready
to make any bargain to keep her.
I carried her back past whitebeams
and wasps and honey-scented buddleias.
But I was Ceres then and I knew
winter was in store for every leaf
on every tree on that road.
Was inescapable for each one we passed.
And for me.
It is winter
and the stars are hidden.
I climb the stairs and stand where I can see
my child asleep beside her teen magazines,
her can of Coke, her plate of uncut fruit.
The pomegranate! How did I forget it?
She could have come home and been safe
and ended the story and all
our heart-broken searching but she reached
out a hand and plucked a pomegranate.
She put out her hand and pulled down
the French sound for apple and
the noise of stone and the proof
that even in the place of death,
at the heart of legend, in the midst
of rocks full of unshed tears
ready to be diamonds by the time
the story was told, a child can be
hungry. I could warn her. There is still a chance.
The rain is cold. The road is flint-coloured.
The suburb has cars and cable television.
The veiled stars are above ground.
It is another world. But what else
can a mother give her daughter but such
beautiful rifts in time?
If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.
The legend will be hers as well as mine.
She will enter it. As I have.
She will wake up. She will hold
the papery flushed skin in her hand.
And to her lips. I will say nothing.

 

 

 

Photograph Rose Cook