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Baby Elephant


My love for you is now a baby elephant
who was born in Berlin or Paris
and treads with padded feet
the rooms of the menagerie owner.
Do not offer him French rolls,
do not offer him c abbage slumps,
he can eat just a quarter of a mandarin,
a lump of sugar or a sweet.
Don't cry, my darling, because in a cramped
cage he will be the crowd's laughing-stock
and when shop assistants blow their cigar smoke
into his face, the working girls will giggle.
Don't think, my dear one, that the day will come
when he'll go crazy and break his chain,
and run down the streets and squash
screaming people like a bus.
No, may you see him in a dawn dream,
in brocade and bronze, in ostrich feathers,
like that splendid one who once
carried Hannibal towards trembling Rome.

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