Sunday, September 24, 2017

The 7 Days of CryAction 6: 1046-1139

The Battle of Zama in a painting of about 1521

To what possible purpose
does the elephant’s odd
trunk or nose exist?
Since it’s a behemoth bigger
[1050] than most animals
it inherited the trunk
as a weapon, note well.
It functions as a neck
insofar as the true one
cannot extend to the soil
and could not be longer.
Therefore the elephant
fetches fruits by using it
and because it is a cable
[1060] too, it can accumulate
nearly a lake inside;
it then sprays rivers
as a Berninian fountain
in Renaissance Rome.
Like an artistic spring
with a faun’s face on
which out of its mouth
or perhaps its penis
pours water everywhere,
[1070] so good Ganesha
gathers his humor first
then his nose imitates
a gorgeous geyser.
This nose often works
as a multitasking hand
twining and stretching.
When a quiet elephant
walks through a flock
of simple-minded sheep
[1080] it does not disturb
them and passes peacefully;
but it grips Gradassoes
lifts them in midair and
smashes them merciless
like a projectile that loads
a catapult then crashes
according to kinetics.
Short is the elephant’s neck
otherwise too weighty
[1090] for its balloon body
that stands on rough feet
which appear inarticulate
and the legs like pillars
of a basilican skeleton.
The beast bends them
when it must sit down
but turning on one side
because of its big mass
(impossible to sit upright)
[1100] so that it always has
to lean left or right.
Only its knees it can
bend, similarly to men:
its paralyzed elbows
force it to find props
against the trees and
sleep hard and deep. . .
look! the trunk collapses!
But often it’s been cut
[1110] by mean smugglers
in search of ivory
to be transformed into
African handicrafts.
The elephant crashes
after the falling tree
like a building broken by
a treacherous earthquake
then resting in ruins.
Prevented from picking
[1120] itself up, it trumpets
stabbed in its belly—
because its bristly back
is spear-proof—and
dies with dire moans.
Its Atlas-like shoulders
can transport towers
stuffed with soldiers
while it knocks down
every enemy it meets
[1130] like a living fort;
Hannibal and Indians
thus put armies to rout
made arms red with blood
trampled on infantry.
This pachyderm, provided
hunts and wars allow,
lives three centuries
and exerts its religion
by adoring Artemis.

(to be continued on Oct. 1)