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Say the Word

A message for the Railways Minister of India.
’Say the Word’
A word in an ear
World’s largest ear
(Except for the African show-offs)
What would you whisper
To an Asian Elephant
May not make it through the day
If this being makes it across the tracks
Reckless train drivers missed today
What does their Minister say?
And if it doesn’t get hung up on a fence
Illegally raised, electrocuted
Just to protect crops planted
Elephants can’t tell the difference
Between food and livelihood
And if it doesn’t take a poisoned morsel
A killer gift for a mother and unborn calf
And if she doesn’t take an explosive coconut
And if he doesn’t get chased by an unruly mob
Into a raging river only to drown
Or if it doesn’t get caught in a snare
Or an infant isn’t snatched away from the herd
The Aunties and the Matriachs, sentient society
Sorely missed, stolen for a life of misery
And if it doesn’t grow to be ridden
Day by day, by tourists, into the ground
It’s back never designed to carry
Or made into a beast of burden, pulling logs
Now there are trucks and tractors for that
And if it doesn’t end up in a Temple
To be paraded around, relentless sun burning
Weighed down in religious finery
The worlds most resplendent slave
Slave-god? God-slave? Only in India
(In Africa the cousins are just hunted
A tooth forsooth forsaken)
If an Asian Elephant completes 24 hours in India…
It’s a pretty good elephant day
What would you whisper in that ear?
World’s second largest auditory, listening
‘God’s speed, we won’t forsake you’
And if your voice could bulwark their Voice
In addition, what would you say?
‘Hold on Sangita,
Surely enlightened crowds of listeners
Are on the way’
If a politician would listen
The trains would run on elephant time
Give way, Ahimsa engaged
And if a country would listen
Showcasing its reverence for the gods
Letting action be their speech
Every day could be their day
A constellation of compassion
Eleven elephants saved won’t be reported
But if they are razed…
For which will you be remembered?
One day I went to India
Saw a herd of the gods, safe distance
Safely wandering, cherished and revered
Busy mitigating the wrongs of human society
An ear for balance, patiently restoring nature’s
India’s gift to the world, protected
Shackles shed they tread lightly
Wander their domain with impunity
Humans encountered
Heads bow and back away
Leave them on their way

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