I Might Be an Elephant

The following poem is a little ditty I came up with while walking down a street, maybe 15 years ago. I often compose poems while walking.

An elephant
never forgets.

An elephant
never forgets.

If you think
an elephant forgets,

then you
are not an elephant.

© Karin Fisher-Golton, 2012

I don’t recall ever writing down this poem before I began to prepare this post. As you can see there’s not much to it. It is just twenty words long and uses only ten different words. Despite its modest stature this little poem has stuck with me. It pops into my head occasionally. It’s one I’ve been known to recite to my son or a friend. Sometimes it gets a giggle. It’s fun to say.

Other poems I’ve written and certain lines from my books and manuscripts behave similarly—they persist in coming to my mind. They aren’t usually the more flashy ones nor ones I thought were my favorites. Now that I think about it I see that they often have a pleasing rhythm or fun sounds and a meaning or twist. However, I like to think many of my other poems and lines have equal qualifications! Still, as their author, when this happens I’m pleased. I decide they work. Apparently, they at least work for me. This is one of those phenomena in the process of creating when the creation takes on a life of its own. I get to be both the artist and a surprised audience member. I love that.

Do you have poems, lines of text, or other bits of your own art that occasionally and consistently come to mind? What do you notice about them?

(Find more poetry at Life is better with Books where Bibliophile is hosting Poetry Friday.)

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10 Responses to I Might Be an Elephant

  1. djtsmith says:

    Love your elephant ditty! Very Pooh-etic. I suppose if you were not an elephant, you would be able to forget that elephants never forget.
    Thanks for visiting and commenting on my site. “Two Rainbows and the Moon” is one of those poems that was a surprise to me. It was one that flowed out in response to seeing all three in the sky the previous day. And it was a creation that had a life of its own. And like you, I was both the artist and audience member, loving it!

    • Thank you for the comment–I love getting connected to Pooh and to “Two Rainbows and the Moon.” 🙂 Seeing a double rainbow and the moon together certainly would be inspiring! I’m not surprised that is a poem that flowed out of you. (And not just because it flows so nicely.)

  2. Tabatha says:

    Your poem reminds me of jump rope rhymes. Julie Larios at the Drift Record has done some of those. Very fun!

  3. Sheri Doyle says:

    I can definitely feel a walking rhythm in your lines. Maybe I hear an elephant walking. This is a delightful poem and one I’ll never forget. ; )
    What do I notice about those lines in my own poetry that consistently come to mind? Sometimes they have a distinct rhythm. Often they describe an image that has some kind of emotional impact for me.

    • Thanks Sheri. So you might be an elephant, too. 🙂 I agree it has a walking rhythm–me and an elephant walking, I think. Interesting that the lines that come back to you are often connected to images. That makes me notice that mine are strangely unconnected to images. I tend to think visually, but my memorable lines tend to be connected to some strong idea or twist.

  4. I love hearing the story of how this little poem was born!

    I am not an elephant, but I would sure one would give me some tips for improving my memory!

  5. One of my all-time favorite children’s books was Dr. Seuss’s ‘Horton Hatches the Egg’. Horton of course never forgets the egg that has been entrusted to him, and in the end is rewarded for his loyalty (is loyalty not just ‘non-forgetfullness?) when the hatchlings turn out to be half bird and half elephant. I like your poem a lot, the simplicity, the understated nature of it, and the reminder that perhaps there is a little bit of elephant in all of us. Thanks for the great post.

    • Thank you Stephen, for that intriguing, thoughtful comment. I’m quite taken by the idea that loyalty is non-forgetfulness and that these two characteristics associated with elephants are one and the same. I think that notion will stick with me, and I wonder where it will go.

  6. What a fun poem, Karin. I love its brevity and playfulness, and as you know, I’m also an elephant fan! I always wish there were some way to really get inside an animal’s consciousness; what does an elephant really remember? I wish they could tell us!

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