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Baby Elephant

Слонёнок

My love for you’s become — a baby elephant,
Not long since born in Paris or Berlin
Who stamps on padded soles about the rooms
Inside its owner’s small menagerie.

Do not attempt to offer him those fine French rolls,
And do not offer him the heads of cabbages,
He can only eat a piece of tangerine
Or a single sugar cube or candy drop.

But do not cry, my dearest, when eventually
He will be snickered at inside a dark cramped cage
As sales boys blow puffs of smoke from their cigars
Into his face to make the shop girls giggle and laugh.

And never think, my darling, that the day will come,
When he grows so enraged that he will break his chains
To rampage wildly down the boulevards and streets
And crush the crowds of howling people like a bus.

No, may you picture him in early morning dreams
In rich brocades and bronze, in splendid ostrich plumes,
Like that incomparable Magnificence who once
With boldness carried Hannibal towards trembling Rome.

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