lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

E is for Elephant

Elephant Mara 1

This gorgeous image of a mother and baby elephant was taken by Mara 1 on Flikr.

The more I read about elephants the more amazed I am by the stories and scientific evidence that shows they one of the most highly intelligent, empathetic, loving, noble and social creatures in the world.

Elephants are the largest mammal, their brain is 3 times the size of ours, and they live to a similar age, 70, if they are not murdered before that.

I say murder, because elephants care for each other – they live in social groups, if one baby falls or cries out, every elephant near will respond to help it.

If an elephant falls sick, or is injured, the herd will stay near and feed it, and wait until it is better before carrying on.

If an elephant dies, they mourn – they sometimes dig a hole and cover the body with branches – they have done this for human bodies, too.

When they pass the site of an elephant grave, the whole herd will pause and become quiet. They have been seen caressing the bones of a dead friend.

In South Africa, when conservationist and author Lawrence Anthony (who had rescued two herds of elephants) died, both herds turned up at his house to mourn him.

Neither herd had visited the house for a year and a half, yet on the day of his death one herd turned up, and a day later the second herd arrived.

It must have taken both herds at least 12 hours to walk there.

They stayed around the house, quietly, mourning for a couple of days before moving off.

These are the actions of beings of great sentience.

And yet they are still being killed at such a rate they may be extinct in both India and Africa in the not-too-distant future.

All for the sake of ivory. Read my post last year under E about ivory hunting here.

This is my elephant poem on the Forward Arts Foundation website:

http://www.forwardartsfoundation.org/poetry/remembering/

Remembering

.

The elephant

is bones

in the dust,

.

they trace

its outline

with delicate trunks,

.

each light touch

missing

.

two tusks.

 

© Liz Brownlee

Please do support any initiative that aims to stop this dreadful trade in elephant lives.

Here is one – adopt an elephant at the WWF.

I’m going to leave you with something happy – a baby elephant, playing like any other baby, with a toy. From YouTube.

.

Poem © Liz Brownlee

Photo © Mara 1.

Information from WWF,  Happy Elephant,  Beliefnet

If you would like to blog-hop to the next A-Z Challenge blog, please click here.

If you’d like to read about or buy my book, Animal Magic, full of animal poems and fascinating facts, click here.

52 Comments

  1. Wonderful poetic commentary this month. I try to write and schedule my A-Z posts in advance. It gives me more time to visit other entries. This year, I couldn’t write much in advance, since we were still on the trip when the challenge started. And, of course, my pre-written posts all became horribly outdated even before the challenge began. I had to laugh!

    Jean, back from the Grand Tour and visiting for the A-Z Challenge from Rantings and Ravings of an Insane Writer Number 209 on the A-Z List.

    Jean Schara
    Blackbirds First Flight (Quin)
    Blackbirds Second Flight (Glaring Upheaval and Fluffy Malone)

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    • That was bad luck! but you’re back on track now…

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  2. I just read someone else’s entry about elephants–it’s here if you want to see it. Majestic animals, aren’t they?

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    • Fabulous, John! Thank you for visiting again. And for the link – I shall hotfoot over to see that after breakfast!

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  3. Interesting video,thanks for the share 🙂

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  4. I remember seeing them in Kenya years ago, at Trretops as well as free in the bush. Quiet extraordinary creatures who inspire awe as well was sympathy – you want to lather them in Vaseline when you see their skin!! Such a sad incitement of our greed, the way they are killed willy billy.

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    • I love your typo ‘willy billy’ there, TanGental, made me giggle! Yes, it makes me ache.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. great post. elephants are so worth our help!

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  6. Hi Liz. Other Elephant here! What I liked about your poem is its simplicity. Such a strong image with so few words. Looking forward to reading more. Loving this challenge – discovering so many wonderful blogs. Yours included.

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    • Aw, thanks, Becca! I am a woman of few words… poetically that is. In prose I could go on forever, so have to severely reign myself in… off to follow your excellent blog now.

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  7. I love elephants. I read once of elephants discovering that humans were plundering their graveyard to steal tusks. The whole herd then trampled every last bone to dust to protect them from further theft. They deserve our love and respect.

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    • They certainly do, Celia. Are you doing the A-z?

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  8. Love elephants!

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  9. Thank you for an insightful, sensitive post. Elephants truly do deserve our respect and love.

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  10. Wow, what a pleasant surprise! We have the same topic for today 🙂 It breaks my heart to read articles/see photos of dead elephants (and animals, in general). Here in Cambodia, the numbers of Asian elephants are dwindling and efforts are being done to save their future.

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    • Hello! i’m going of to read yours in a tick! Thanks you. Elephants are special.

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  11. Great post -so glad to have found your blog through the A-Z Challenge 🙂

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  12. This post changed my morning, thank you. If you have ever seen the Planet Earth series, there is a wonderful part when the rains finally come after a long draught in Africa. The animals are all rejoicing, and there is a scene where a baby elephant is swimming, so joyfully playing, in the river. It makes me cry every time it’s so overwhelming!

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  13. This is one lovably sensitive blog and I felt so connected with the baby elephant, I had tears in my eyes! In India, there are stories in school books about the Elephants’ wisdom, bravery and love for nature and in fact there was an elephant who refused to eat when his mahout died. He mourned and mourned till his own death. And in India, ruthlessly elephants are killed.

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    • I know, Naqvee – if only we could all connect as you have! I spend time going round schools to talk to children here about animals, and tell them little things they can do to help, not buying ivory if they go abroad, not littering so waste isn’t blown into the sea to pollute and entrap creatures great and small, buying wood that has been grown sustainably etc so it has not come from a rainforest. Not buying palm oil or products with it in. It’s hard as 80% of packaged food over here has it in. It’s a big achingly hard subject.

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  14. I’ve had the privilege of seeing elephants in the wild when visiting South Africa. Such amazing creatures, much bigger than you can image from photographs. The rangers who guided us carried rifles, not to protect us from the animals, but to shoot the poachers. The dedication of these rangers is admirable.

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    • Hello Rae – yes, i’ve watched programmes about the had work they do, both to protect the elephants and to educate people and help them find ways of living without having to rely on poaching. The trouble is, if you are starving, if your child is starving, you have to do something.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I LOVE elephants. They’re my favorite animal. I love that they can cry. It’s so sweet.

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com

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    • Hello, thank you, and good luck to you too, you must be doing a lot of work!

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  16. I love the elephants! That baby elephant is adorable! Can’t wait for F!
    TheFrogLady

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  17. Shonna Slayton

    What an adorable picture, and my kids enjoyed watching the elephant playing! Thanks for posting it.

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  18. The elephant is such a noble gentle creature. I know Jimmy Stewart was big into saving the elephant. I am always in awe of their memory and their compassion. This was a beautiful E

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  19. Beautiful post again Liz.

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  20. Love your poem though my heart went ouch multiple times, especially, about their graveside ritual.

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  21. Thanks for sharing those facts and true stories. Yes, it should be called murder. The ivory trade is disgusting.
    Your poem is very touching.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Elephants are such beautiful creatures and I highly respect them. It breaks my heart to learn of them being killed or mistreated and tortured. They seem to have such dignity, intelligence and compassion. This is a nice tribute and extremely educational. I did not they buried their dead, and the story of the two herds travellng to the conservationist’s house … simple amazing. Thank you. Peace

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  23. Lovely photo and video, liz, andd thanks for the poem too.

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  24. I love elephants. And I love that your poem says so much about the atrocities being done to them in so few words. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and good luck with the rest of the challenge!

    Daryl

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    • Thanks, Daryl. That’s my aim, to get all that emotion in as few words as possible. I think people stop listening if a poem is too long and too heavy. Good luck to you too!

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  25. Elephants are such amazing and beautiful creatures. I saw a video of them caressing bones as you mentioned, but I didn’t realise they covered their dead with branches. The ivory trade is sickening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tizzypots. They don’t always, but do sometimes. It is terrible.

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    • Tizzypots, I can’t find your blog, it says there are no records from your link…

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  26. anna@herding cats & burning soup

    OH love! Outside of cats/dogs Elephants are my favorite. I collected all things elephant for years 😀 There’s one (or two) in nearly every room of the house 😀

    Anna @ herding cats & burning soup

    Like

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