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Thursday, October 03, 2013


by James Penha

The elephant is the soul of Thailand,
the beast that bowed to kings,
built their empires
from jungles, the warrior that bore armies
and the brunt of generals' attacks. The elephant
is the nation's sacred symbol, its
trademark, its commodity, temple-venerable
and night-market kitsch. Without wars to fight
in an age of drones
and caterpillars, the great one follows
Fagins of mahouts
around carnivals amidst city streets,
hobbled and humiliated,
homeless and hungry, trunk
down with its luck. Now cartoon heroes
in masks and dark glasses
are glorified
as one great gray soldier and another
fade away and die.

James Penha edits The New Verse News.