The elephants are skilfully carved.
Sundered from dried logs
by gnarled hands in pinched villages.
Bargained for a pittance too paltry
for such dextrous dedication.
Straw-swaddled they are truck-trundled
to a cities dust, where the poor sleep
in dark shadows of public buildings,
use a fountain to wash.
In a warehouse swagged with shadows,
small boys sit, cross-legged,
coned in sky-lit light where dust motes
float in choking constellations,
speckle shifting air.
Tepid air holds taints of betel-nut breath,
gaseous farts from bellies full of hunger,
the fibrous bite of coir and cotton.
Some boys shape coats for the elephants.
Bright flutters of sequin-starred fabric,
that lure tourists eyes.
The last boy adds string.
Intricately knots about each elephant
an artistic representation of a Howdah.
His finger-skin is crusted with calluses,
an indentation where scissor handles dig,
mark his index finger with a deep notch.
He makes another reef,
follows the elephant in his daydreaming.
Crosses seas and continents,
sighs for things he will never have,
hopes for a little fish with his rice.

– Miki Byrne

© 2016, poem, Miki Byrne, All rights reserved


The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

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