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"Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." Leonard Cohen

Saturday, May 1, 2010


And Suddenly Elephants Are Leaping

Since forever, I’ve wanted to believe in the impossible
Just tell me it can’t be done and watch out, I will
Do almost anything to prove you wrong – go to extraordinary
Lengths – take unnecessary risks, within reason – usually
To make things happen – because I need to believe
That nothing is impossible, nothing

Where does this weird drive come from?
I have no idea – it’s not like I am a particularly obsessed
Person with tons of energy and a Type A personality
Bent on seeing things through, or someone with
A master plan for life, and clear objectives, focus
And all that – it’s just when I hear someone say,
“Well – don’t bother trying that – it can’t be done – “
Something goes off inside me – maybe in my brain
More likely in my gut, or even in my heart, and before

I know quite how it has happened I am forging ahead
Teaching the brain-damaged young adult to read
When his parents were told he would never do anything
At all after he was pulled from the pool unbreathing,
Virtually brain-dead, as a four year old—let alone
Go to school and get a diploma in culinary arts

Or, gentling the horse that no-one wants to ride because
He bites feet, getting him to settle and settle and settle,
Until finally he realizes he’d rather gallop flat out than bite my
Steel-toed construction boots – and then at last, he knows
He can trust other people to let him gallop too...

Still, my biggest obstacle has always been elephants
I can’t help admiring these ungainly wonders
And pitying them a little too, because if ever there
Were beasts faced with an impossibility, it is they

I just know they want to be able to jump things
I mean, you only have to look them in their ancient eyes
And listen to them whispering in their deep rumblings
To each other – and it’s not long before you realize

That although they’re reasonably content to mill about
And run from time to time, it would mean the world
If they could just take a flying leap sometime – you know?
And everyone knows that all elephants adore the movie
Dumbo – and carry feathers secreted on them somewhere
So when I find myself dreaming of a herd of elephants

Running full tilt in Africa, probably in the Serengetti
When it was still wonderful, I am never happier
Than when I don’t awake until the hold herd makes
It to a stack of logs piled high and wide, and in the dream
The herd, as if a team in the Olympics, leap the logs
Like they are hurdling – for those few seconds, they are
Graceful – leaping elephants all – then back to earth
And on they go – proving all things possible, just
As I’ve always known.

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