Lessons on Elephants’ Tusks

“I’m playing Mozart” he said, “on elephants’ tusks.”
As I sat on a nearby stool.
“I’m not so bothered with rhythm as such,”
though it sounded to me that he was.

The place where I sat was wooden and small
but felt like a large armchair.
It was the music, I guess, surrounding me so
that held and cushioned me there.

“You’ll sing won’t you dear?” he songfully said
and I shuffled and squirmed in my seat.
I supposed that I could, but all I could say
was; “Isn’t it more fun to eat?”

He filled the table with oysters and apples
and chocolate cake fit for a king
“So you’ll eat and you’ll eat and you’ll eat and you’ll eat
and you’ll eat and you’ll eat, then you’ll sing?”

The elephants’ tusks shrieked and groaned
under the weight of his hands
So I sat myself once more on my throne
and soon I began my song.

The simple words of a nursery rhyme
were floating around in the air.
I lost all sense of place and time
as the narrative carried itself.

I sang of knights and dragons and queens
and fairies and magic and kings.
The stories belong to legends and dreams
and I revelled in their mystery.

The final tonal sounds were played
And our melody was no more
I stood up from my stool, shook his hand
and left at once through the door.

I wandered through the garden of his,
the roses and tulips reached out.
I put my hands on my hips and solemnly sighed
“There’s just too much beauty about!”

I turned as I walked, to regard him once more,
the musician who played on the tusks.
He looked strange to me doing everyday chores;
he wasn’t quite human as such.

He was rather round and tall, you see
and only looked right in a hat.
His face looked like that of a lion to me
and at least the head of the pride.

So I hummed once more to the wind and sky
the mythical tune of our song.
I have weekly lessons on tusks, you see,
so I’ll be back with the Lion before long.

Originally Published in The Looking Glass Anthology: Volume 4

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