Wednesday, 5 October 2011


“We generate our own environment. We get exactly what we deserve. How can we resent a life we've created ourselves? Who's to blame, who's to credit but us? Who can change it, anytime we wish, but us?” - Richard Bach

Every week, Magpie Tales publishes a picture and stimulates the creativity of a group of people that use this image to write a short piece, prose or poetry, inspired by it. This week, the image is both fanciful and menacing, playful and serious. This week’s Elephant with Wings looked firstly amusing and whimsical to me, but as I came back and kept looking at it for a couple of days it became ominous and dire. The cute yet improbable flying pachyderm (echoes of Dumbo!) was suddenly transformed into a calamitous admonishment about the destruction of the environment, increasing pollution, nuclear leaks, fallout, mutants and destruction of our planet. The grey-blue skies and sea, the smoking cooling towers of the power plant, the metal derricks of technological progress, and the low-hanging smog made of the elephant an evil portent…

When Elephants will Fly

My genome hurts,
The water burns,
And air corrodes my tissues.

My body shrieks,
Each cell distraught,
As sea turns to acid biting into beach.

My flesh creeps,
And cancers rage,
The wars within diminishing me.

My eyes extinguished,
My touch long-lost,
With oily residue polluting my pores.

Plutonium coats the sand, and cobalt paints the sky;
Iodine seas scintillate and thorium pebbles glow.
Each rasping breath begins a murderous clone of cells within me,
Rampant mutations that make me a freak in a sideshow.

My back sprouts wings,
My bones dissolve,
And thick skin turns to mush.

My life shortens,
My brain is porous
As radioactivity punctures me.

My world is ending,
My dreams defiled
The downfall of my species imminent.

My tribe extinct,
My peers unrecognisable
In monstrous transformations.

Uranium stars and curium moon that poisonously glow,
A rapidly burning palladium sun that turns all to ash.
Each step a torture, each touch an agony,
Liberation only in death, when elephants will fly.


  1. with sadness but wonderfully said. Isn't everyone feel the same. At my age I feel like my life is ending. So I rather focus on making it fun without stepping on somebody's toe...


  2. Yes! I saw what you ultimately saw ... and could not bring myself to write about. I am glad you did.

  3. It seemed so dark and hopeless until - when elephants will fly.

  4. Pollution has a lot to answer for, but let's hope the really elephants, and us, can survive it all...

  5. A nightmarish litany for the age ... perpetrated by the enemy You didn't miss a thing.

  6. what a sad piece....but thought provoking ....we all at least have hope???

  7. Yes, it really is a nightmare scene you paint, Nicholas. The image was scary enough, but your words make it absolutely spine-chilling...

  8. Haunting and tortured. You expressed it well. I, too, saw this, especially in the images of the nuclear reactors? and smoke but chose to ignore them for my poem and focus on the more pleasant elements of the photo (yeah, I copped out!)

  9. A nightmare indeed and if we are not careful, we will be the agents of our own destruction and other species.

    Anna :o]

  10. Heartbreaking. I weep for the beautiful creatures.