Considering the Elephant


Do not be taken in by our lugubrious appearance,
an apparent lack of get-up-and-go,
our certain want of brio.
No — do not be misled
by the ponderous pendulum of each leg,
deceived by the humph and schlep
of the single loaded step,
the hulk, the mass to move from walk
to run (a biomechanical joke),
the effort to shift the feet to haste
with not so much as one complete aerial phase.

Something is happening though you don’t see it yet.
You want, too, for our slow, fateful gait,
the repeated lumbering metres of grey,
nondescript days and days like these.
It’s in the bone, the habit, this mind of our own
to know we know what you can’t know:
within the kinetic heart, ceaseless
change: how all is time, all is flow.

‘Considering the Elephant’ by Michael Brown won third prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 202) judged by Terry Jones.

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