Elephant Man (requiem for Joseph Merrick, 1862-1890)

Wearing his Sunday best
he sits upright
on his bed beside
the open black dressing bag.
His smooth girl’s hand
gently strokes the razor
shoehorn and cigarette case–
the mirror long since removed.

Picking up a brush
he combs the wispy hairs
of his cauliflower head,
fancies himself a lover
in cool evening shadows.
From overgrown lips
come no spluttering noises–
only poetry and affectionate song.
(The lady in question accepts his proposal.
They marry in a cardboard church
which Joseph has constructed.)

The reverie passes
and Joseph sighs.
Lonelier than ever
he limps about his cell
gazing at the bric-a-brac
his noble friends have sent him.
Sitting by a casement
he contemplates the sky,
his child-like soul thirsting
for vistas, woods, and lawns unseen,
birds, fish and flowers.

Till tired of pining
and out of time and hope,
he lies down on the bed
‘like other people’,
and closes his forlorn eyes.
In his latest dream,
he imagines asylums
for the blind and distant lighthouses
twinkling in the dark.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply