Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Secret Language Of Elephants


[this poem was inspired by a beautiful report on CBS by Bob Simon entitled: The Secret Language of Elephants, reposted online December 28, 2014, it aired originally on CBS 60 Minutes January 1, 2010 and is an interview with the scientist
 Andrea Turkalo]

"But it turns out that these vocalizations are just a small fraction of the sounds elephants make. Until a few years ago, scientists had no idea that most of what elephants are saying can't be heard by the human ear."
-Bob Simon 

[an elegy...]

the ground rumbles but we can't hear it.
the small stars sing.
and every winged thing whirs in the grasslands

we can't learn to spell.
miles from each other, deep in the forest glades

beyond the storybooks we fell asleep reading-
sweet imprints of the childrens' hands
in Plaster-of-Paris adorning the trembling walls-

the elephants trumpet sotto voce and
understand each other.
this is not folklore.

the poets try, of all men left on earth;
the children, with their coloured clays and paints.
while all that we can't save or say
slips through to where

sad angels sing.
lost relatives call in rainbows
from the inside of shells...
the gilded saints break rank from silent prayer.

breaking their restraints, the elephants flood
the High Hills
while those of us,not yet attuned,
go under the Wave.

mary angela douglas 1 january 2015