I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

21 April 2016

So What?

I was three
when I rode the elephant.

She was big.
They said she was old.

She went slow.
I was very high up.

My Mum, running beside us
and waving at me, looked little.

The seat swayed and wobbled.           
I asked if I could get down.

All the grown-ups, my family,
told me it was a treat.

They said I would always remember
riding the elephant at Melbourne Zoo

the day I turned three.
Well, I do.

Written for An Elephantine Challenge 
at 'imaginary garden with real toads'



  1. Ah, so sweet. Very vivid. k.

  2. Always we tell little ones what we wish we had known at their age. Ha!

  3. My mother-in-law rode an African elephant on the occasion of her 70th birthday. That was something she had always longed to do.

  4. I can imagine how high up you felt at age three! Wobbly!

  5. Funny how adults can be blind to a child's not taking a thing the way they assumed she would! From a 3 year old's perspective, riding atop an elephant could be a genuine thrill, OR it could be pretty darn scary.

  6. Interesting ... What I'm picking up on is that maybe the adults thought the speaker would remember this as an extremely thrilling moment, whereas how it was actually filed away was much more matter-of-fact -- perhaps because a child that young doesn't have the context to know how unusual this event is. Am I on the right track?

    1. You are. But even more than that, it was, as others have noted, scary – and no great pleasure, it seemed, for the elephant either. And yet ... it has indeed remained in memory all these years.

  7. thanks for sharing these lovely memories Rosemary

    much love...

  8. Rosemary, the feeling I get from those last lines is dead on...what was viewed as "harmless fun" when we were children, we now know is very often animal abuse. This is so well done.

    1. Yes, that feeling is what I hoped to convey.

  9. This one is so great, the child's perspective of being scared... yet you do remember more the thrill afterwards... what a true treat.

    1. The clue is in the title. Not thrill remembered, but the child's fear and elephant's tired plodding.

  10. Something to remember indeed. I believe that most things we rem from early childhood are unpleasant experiences. My youngest event that I remember was an undeserved beating by my enraged father. I also remember my first and only camel ride at age 47.