Of all the mysteries the elephant, he said –
on whose back he took a strolling seasick ride
south to examine rocks of elevated coral,
thrown gently from side to side, as light peppered
through the weft of his floppy brim under which
his prune-face lost itself in beard and thought;
just the straps creaking, creaking against
the creaks of the bamboo through which they strolled –
how a beast, he asked, ten thousand pounds in weight
with inch-thick skin much given to insect bites,
which drank daily some forty gallons through
the sixty thousand muscles of which the length
of its languid and free-swinging trunk was made up,
could freight him with so soft, so noiseless a step.

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