Francis Bede

A Meditation on the Graven Image of an Elephant

Elephant you are my sacred icon which saves me; day and night I reach for you.
May my small talk be useful to you; and may you lift your trunk to my cry.
I am overwhelmed with eternity fantasies as though my life is fast ebbing away.
I am counted among those who are heading six feet under; I am like one losing
all his vigour.
I am a half member of the dead, like the aged whom the living remembers less
and less.
My delusions put me in the dirtiest pit, in the darkest depths.
They have taken from me my caring friends and I am repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
My eyes are dim with grief.
I call to you, Elephant, every day; I run my hands over you.
Should you demonstrate your wonders to the disbelievers? Can their spirits rise
up and praise you?
Can your wisdom be declared outside of belief, your presence declared before
Are your wonders known in places of light, known in the depths of despair?
Yes, I answer to all, yes.
I cry to you for inspiration, dear Elephant: at dawn I must pray more to you.
From my youth I have suffered and have considered suicide; I have lived so
long with night terrors and I am in despair.
Illusions have swept over me; their terrors disable me.
All day long they surround me like a flood; they completely engulf me.
They have taken my brightness from me; darkness has been my second best
friend after you.
Hear me, my Elephant, as I voice my despair; protect my life from the threat of
my theist enemies.
Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers.
Their illusionary power hangs heavily over me; they overwhelm me with all
their miracles.
They sharpen their tongues like swords and they aim deadly words at me.
They ambush me when I am innocent; they condemn me without fear or
They are always making evil plans; they talk about placing their snares. They
say: “In his guilt he will not see them.”
They plot my demise and say, “We have devised a perfect plan. When he dies he
will either go to Heaven or to Hell! His sins will point the way.”
Surely these lies cannot be any more cunning!
But Elephant, when you blow your trumpet they will be struck down.
You can turn their own tongues against them and bring them to sorrow; and
when I see them I will show my scorn.
They’ll recognise their delusions for what they are; then they will proclaim the
works of you Elephant and ponder what you can do.
The practical will rejoice in you and take their place beside you; the upright in
heart will glory you.
Keep me safe, my Elephant, for in you I take refuge.
You are my guide; apart from you there is not much else.
I will try hard not to run after a god, when all I’ll do is suffer more and more.
With your help I will not pour out libations of hope to any god nor place its
name on my lips. No longer will I succumb to the promises of salvation.
When I die you will die with me and that is the end.
Elephant you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
Pleasant times are to come; and I will bring to my life a delightful countenance.
I will praise you Elephant who counsels me; at night you will guide my heart and
instruct me.
My hands are never far from you Elephant: because of your presence I will not
be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and it rejoices; my spirit will rest secure. 
You will not abandon me to the realm of fantasy, nor will you let me your
faithful one, mentally decay.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your
presence; you, such a beautiful tattoo, and so profound on my chest.

The Night of the Uber Gurus

This is a moment to richly savour
when the radicals have forgotten themselves
and thrown off their inhibitions
by eschewing their manifesto’s ideological pride,
for democracy has no enemy, except within.
They can drop dogma and parade clueless
in front of mirrors, in front of open doors
shedding weapons at the nearest exit
just outside, just near a calculus of bright stars.
Amusements are called for and relaxants sought
and a new love branches toward them
from the public nearby, gazing at these stars, wishing
the radicals of the left and of the right
be guru to each other.

Francis Bede is an Australian who lives in Tasmania. His first book, Bad Clergy was recently published by Niche Press,  and his poems are soon to appear in Terror House Magazine, Oddville Press, Literary Heist and StepAway.