Thursday, June 05, 2008
Photograph appears courtesy of Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, Warwick District Council
As promised last month, here is the poem commissioned in connection with the Warwick Poet Laureateship to commemorate the recent re-siting of the elegant 'Elephant Circle' seat by Nicholas Dimbleby in Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa, which you can see pictured above - with one of my own sons taking an impromptu elephant ride!
Circus Elephants in Royal Leamington Spa
(in memoriam Sam & George Lockhart, elephant trainers)
Exotic, thick-lashed, they arrive
with their entourage
of flap-eared uncles and wrinkled aunts.
Flirtatious, on elegant display,
the white length of the Parade
and people stare as they pass,
overwintering at the Spa.
Like heroines from a Regency romance,
come here to acquire
‘a little town bronze’,
they admire themselves in shop fronts,
twirling Oriental silk parasols
in their dusty trunks.
One hundred years on, you can
almost see them
in the park each dusk, walking
single file in the cold,
taking themselves down to the river
to bathe; daisy-chaining,
trunk-to-tail, their vast
like scallop-edged drums
thumping the concrete,
always just missing the civic pinks
* 'Leamophants' is an alternative title for this poem, dreamt up by Jon Morley of Heaventree Press fame; didn't take to it at first, but now I rather like it. Thanks, Jon!