Gray elephant

The elephant said as his eye turned red
I fear our days are numbered,
then raised his mighty trunk on high
and through the jungle lumbered

Ten hunters came in hot pursuit
their guns began to rattle,
but with his tusks like warrior swords
he readied for the battle

Undaunted now he turned and bowed
his massive body ready
the men were shocked, their rifles locked
the elephant stood steady

He bellowed and their blood ran cold
as they prepared to fire
he charged them with a chilling shriek
unleashing all his ire

Shots rang out, he felt the sting
yet still he rampaged on,
ten men lay trampled on the ground
before the rising dawn.

He studied then the lifeless men
and wondered why they came
to kill him and his only kin
without a shred of shame

for elephants and humans love
and mourn their dead the same,
but elephants do not know greed
and so do not know blame.

He knew the men would soon return
to hunt and kill his kin,
still he would stand and charge the foes
and trample them again

until the day they brought him down
that great soul in his glory,
the elephants will mourn his bones
and I will tell his story.

Poem by Elizabeth Paxson

Elizabeth Paxson lives near the shores of northern Lake Michigan, where she finds solace among the trees. Her poetry and short stories have been published in journals, including Tiny Seed Journal, Equinox Journal, Night Picnic Press, Pangolin Review, and others, and a chapbook “Always Birds” with Redbird Chapbooks. https://epaxson.com/