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Young Elephant

Слонёнок

My love for you’s an elephant, just that.
A young one, born in Paris, or Berlin:
He’ll gallivant, with padded feet and flat,
In zoo attendant-rooms and raise a din.

Don’t give him rolls or any French cuisine:
A cabbage-head to him is not a treat —
He’ll gladly try a slice of tangerine,
Or sugar cubes, or candy, something sweet.

Don’t weep, my darling, that in narrow cage
He’s mocked and troubled by the chuckling crowd —
Cigar smoke up his trunk — as if his rage
Might charm the milliners, who laugh out loud.

Don’t think, my dear, that soon will come the day
When, truly angry, he will break his chain
And run and, like a bus that broke away,
Ram down the people, make them wail in pain.

Envision him instead in early dawn,
Brocaded, ostrich-feathered, far from home,
Like that Resplendent One who, stately, calm,
Bore Hannibal to face a trembling Rome.

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