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If I Were an Elephant

Across the Serengeti plain our matriarch would lead, Dining on the guarri fruit, and gum acacia seeds. Upon our sweet green namesake grass our bellies we would fill, I'd visit with my mother's bones, nap in the northern hills. We'd cross the Mara river, then the southern rains would fall, We'd see the African spoonbill, and hear the weaverbird call. We'd care for all the young ones, and with my sisters I would roam, Victoria Lake... But then I'd wake, give up my dreams of home. I'd bust my cage, I'd smash the door, and trample all around, If I was an elephant, I'd tear the circus down. December 6, 2016

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016




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Date: 5/15/2017 4:58:00 PM
Love this write, I have signed at least 5 times for elephants to be out of the circus. And orcas for Sea World, bull fighting, dog fighting. And everything else. And Tony the Tiger in the roadside truckstop. I read that Ringling Brothers circus has/ is stopping the use of elephants. I love your poem tho :)
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Doug Vinson
Date: 5/15/2017 9:15:00 PM
Thanks, Debbie. Indeed - some things are changing for the better.
Date: 3/27/2017 7:47:00 AM
Nice thoughtful twist at the end, really turned the piece around. Well done in the contest too.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/27/2017 3:40:00 PM
Hey Scott, thank you.
Date: 3/26/2017 3:46:00 PM
Great idea, to see Africa from a "caged" elephant's perspective. It was serene Serengeti, until the twist - haiku-like- at the end. Kudos to you * Shalom. Anil Deo
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/27/2017 3:38:00 PM
Cheers, Anil. : )
Date: 3/11/2017 9:29:00 AM
One of many forms of slavery this human condition imposes on that which we deem subservient, congratulations Doug on this honor...
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/11/2017 8:09:00 PM
Thanks, Charlie, and yeah.... Where does it stop?
Date: 3/9/2017 12:35:00 PM
Great poem and agree with the sentiment. Thankfully circuses make less use of animals these days. All the best and congratulations Doug! :-)
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/11/2017 8:09:00 PM
Hey Mark. : ) Cheers, buddy...
Date: 3/9/2017 6:48:00 AM
Very well written Doug, wonderful rhyme and rhythm.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/9/2017 9:04:00 AM
Gracias, James. : )
Date: 3/8/2017 7:13:00 AM
Love your elephant poem! Must have missed it back when you first posted it. I strongly dislike circus with animals. Congrats on your win.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/8/2017 9:13:00 PM
Hey Agnes. : ) Yeah, making "spectacles" of animals, or of people, for that matter... : ( Working in Lake Charles, Louisiana, for a couple weeks, today was right by the water - fascinating to see the brown pelicans diving for fish and shearwaters doing the same, as well as pestering the pelicans hilariously.
Date: 3/7/2017 11:20:00 PM
Nothing I can say that has not been said below. Congrats Doug!
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/7/2017 11:32:00 PM
Hi Rob. : ) Thank you, Sir!
Date: 1/5/2017 9:48:00 AM
I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED ELEPHANTS ! They are massive and very intelligent.. Your verses sing and bring images of Africa to mind. A7 AND A FAV..
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Doug Vinson
Date: 1/5/2017 10:31:00 AM
Hey Robert. : ) Those big old beasts are cool indeed.
Date: 12/19/2016 7:33:00 PM
I wish they would "tear the circus down". Beautifully written.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/19/2016 8:02:00 PM
Hi Newton. Thanks!
Date: 12/16/2016 8:04:00 AM
Great writing Doug, captured the sentiment of what an elephant may be thinking. One day all living creatures will be free.Congrats on the win.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/17/2016 8:41:00 AM
Thank you, John. One can hope...
Date: 12/16/2016 7:07:00 AM
Oh Doug a terrific poem about this noble beast and no doubt the dreams they do have if not taken into human custody so young they have few memories. I've seen them at the circus when they've passed through here and am amazed by the sadness that their eyes emit. I frank abhor circuses and simply went with my grand kids because they wanted to go.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/17/2016 8:38:00 AM
Roy, yes - they are sentient creatures with emotion and memory.
Date: 12/11/2016 11:52:00 PM
Yes, tear it down. Literally, but also metaphorically, for everyone caged and captured in any way. Good luck in the contest.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/12/2016 11:14:00 PM
Perhaps the time for going rogue is here. Thanks, Darren. : )
Date: 12/10/2016 11:08:00 AM
Doug I love this piece. What I also read here, once again, is your remarkable capacity to see from the outside in. Wondering if inspiration from contest space-holders is your best choice of muse. Just a question; not a negative judgment. Gerald Oliver
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/11/2016 7:23:00 PM
(Added later) - I would also say that a contest can be a good framework in which to work. The actual poem itself depends more on feeling. We may be clever, we may pursue rhymes to the end of all imagination, but the best poems come when we feel strongly about something.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/10/2016 12:46:00 PM
Hi Gerald. Essentially, I think I'm a narrator. If, upon my tombstone, it will say, "He could tell a good story," then I'll be a happy camper down below. Coming to PoetrySoup, I was resistant to poetry contests - "No, my inspiration is what it is, and it won't fit in most contest restrictions."
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/10/2016 12:45:00 PM
2.) I have a few good stories to tell, built up over my lifetime, and it doesn't take long to burn through most of them. There is time to get all caught up, there, and to dredge up new ones, but I also was reading what other people wrote, some of it for contests, and the idea grew on me, even looked like fun, sometimes. A case of an old Doug learning new tricks.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/10/2016 12:44:00 PM
3.) "My best choice of muse" - can we really choose? I do have more innate, experienced, and witnessed stories to tell. I have ideas and fragments written down, later to expand the flesh on them. Yet, I would now say that inspiration can definitely come from a contest, from the judge's concept, from a sentence, from just a few foreign words.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/10/2016 12:43:00 PM
4.) A big philosophy of mine is that you have to be in the right mood. There are good books and movies, but unless you're in the mood to read or watch, it won't be the same. I've binged on movies, five, six, seven a day. You get to that fifth or sixth one, you've got palate fatigue - no matter how good the movie is, it's not like when you started.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/10/2016 12:42:00 PM
5.) I don't think we can much control the Muse. Even if I'm really in the mood to write - that important prerequisite - it's still going to be a happy day or a sad day or a stupid humor day, etc. If, at an instant, you have a story coming out of you, and you're feeling like writing (and good grief you BETTER feel like writing, then), it's a done deal, no problem, your course is set.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/10/2016 12:41:00 PM
6.) Perhaps some of us won't want to write unless the story is there. Personally, I can be in the mood and still cast about, looking. While I wouldn't say the contests are my "best" inspiration, I also don't think it matters. The Muse takes a whole bunch of stuff, contests and all, and throws it in her big lunch grinder. It spits out a sandwich. She hands it to me, "Here, taste this..."
Date: 12/9/2016 2:41:00 AM
A good elephant poem x well done x
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/9/2016 8:46:00 AM
Merci beaucoup, Wendy. Next: "If I were an Elephant Carpenter...."
Date: 12/8/2016 6:03:00 PM
this is absolutely AWESOME. i have not seen many of these poems yet, but so far this is my favorite. Have I faved you as a followed poet of mine yet? Let me go see!! and fave for this poem too.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/9/2016 12:01:00 AM
Thank you, Andrea. Our fellow creatures, sentient, emotional, knowing...
Date: 12/7/2016 7:37:00 PM
Beautiful imagery of a beautiful animal living as she should...only to awake in her nightmare reality! An amazing write, Doug...thank heavens 'many countries, particularly in Europe, and some local governments in the United States and Canada have banned the use of wild animal species in circuses, including elephants.'(Google). Best wishes for the contest. Sandra
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/7/2016 9:29:00 PM
Thanks, Sandra. We're conflicted about animals - we adore them, but sell them for profit, imprison them, kill them - as with elephants for ivory. And for all that, ivory carvings can be some of the most beautiful things in the world.
Date: 12/6/2016 11:13:00 PM
Yes, a magnificent creature like an elephant needs its freedom. Excellent poem, Doug! Good luck in the contest :)
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/7/2016 8:46:00 AM
Grazie, Laura. : )
Date: 12/6/2016 3:21:00 PM
Awesome take on this!!! You had me hooked from the beginning but the Last was a mixture of emotions that took my breath. Well done Doug. Very well done. Big Hugggs Cap'n Deb
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/6/2016 6:10:00 PM
Hi Cap'n Deb. Much obliged, and thanks for bringin' your ship through - the breeze of it's close passage feels good on this sultry day.
Date: 12/6/2016 2:59:00 PM
Oh dear, you'd be a dangerous elephant! Fun, fun poem! :-)
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/6/2016 3:11:00 PM
I'd hate doing without tea and coffee, though, Leileah.
Date: 12/6/2016 2:18:00 PM
I LOVE this Doug, did you do research on distances elephants travel before writing this?
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Darren White
Date: 12/6/2016 11:40:00 PM
It's magnificent and most definitely my favourite here. Fave and 7
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/6/2016 3:18:00 PM
Thanks, Darren. Kenya & Tanzania have one of the largest animal migrations on earth; basically big beasts following the rain around. A relative few elephants, couple hundred thousand zebras, way over a million wildebeests, etc., Most babies born farther south, early months of the year, rains end in May, north they go, back south in October, get ready to repeat the cycle.
Date: 12/6/2016 2:08:00 PM
Great read Doug, good luck.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/6/2016 3:10:00 PM
Thanks, Gary. Cheers. : )
Date: 12/6/2016 1:47:00 PM
Yes, and they would shoot you. Very well written verse. I love it. Good luck in the contest.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/6/2016 3:06:00 PM
Hi Janis. Yes, they would shoot me.
Date: 12/6/2016 1:17:00 PM
Bravo, they are such unique and gentle creatures, unless you mess with one, and what a finish! Did you know when they meet one another, they extend their trunk in greeting. I'm in awe of their magnificence. Good luck Doug.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/6/2016 3:09:00 PM
Indeed, Paloma, they greet each other - it really does seem like an elephant "never forgets." They are emotional creatures who truly appear to mourn their dead.
Date: 12/6/2016 9:02:00 AM
Hi Doug, What a good personification. It was as though the elephant was speaking. Well done. I wish you the best of luck in the contest. A without a doubt seven:-) Alexis
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/6/2016 9:05:00 AM
Cheers, Alexis. Such intelligent, soulful creatures they are.
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