The Spider Legged Elephants

The Spider Legged Elephants prose poem

Uploaded by Bill Peeler

Where are the spider legged elephants now
That trekked across the red horizon, the hush
Of twilight trailing just behind them in their wake?
We saw them towering over the vast savanna
Shimmering in the atmosphere
The tall grass waving them on their way
Cicadas sang for the long rains to fall
The thorned acacia and the leafless baobab waiting
For the placid pools and running streams to fill
But we stopped believing and the rains never came
The land dried up stripped bare in the gritty coils
Of dust devils sweeping over the plains
We crept through countless dreary seasons
Without the stars to guide us or the phases
Of the moon to lighten the passing years
No soothing breezes from the east to clear
Our lungs of idle air and freshen up our blood
Our fires burned out and the nights turned cold
Nor did we notice that the sky had gone blank
Or wonder why we never saw or heard of them again
We went our way growing old, forgetting to tell our children
And only now remember how grand they were
How tall and soft afoot they strode toward destinies
We’ll never see again beyond the rolling grasslands
Through sunlit mountain passes and dappled forest trails
Then on and on to shores and seas and starry nights
So full our very souls would fly above our heads
The spider legged elephants splashed in the foamy surf
Their ivory glistening with starlight until we stopped believing

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Bill Peeler

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My wife, Noy and I are Protestant missionaries in Cambodia. We met in a border refugee camp in Thailand back in 1979 while I was a refugee relief worker. She was a refugee. I lived and worked in Mairut Refugee Camp for three years. We have three grown kids. I was drafted into the Army in 1969, served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971 and honorably discharged at the end of my military obligation. Writing prose and poetry is how I document the life I'm living and how I map out the mental landscape inside my head.
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