Hidden away from the haunts of men, west of a widespread Lake
Out of the scope of human ken, in a tangled thicket and brake,
‘Mid arching trees where the foetid breeze ruffles the ragged sky
Elephants come to die.
Many a mighty Lord of Herd, massive of tusk and limb
Has crept away at the whispered word that signified death to him-
Driven by doom to the murky gloom where the wheeling vultures fly,
Through buffet and blast he has come at last to the place where the Elephants die.
Pile upon pile of bleaching bone, and a foul, miasmic breath
With now and again a mighty moan to break on the hush of death-
Sluggish streams, and silver beams of a silent moon on high-
God forfend I should meet my end in the Place where the Elephants die!
Once, they say, in the olden days a venturesome man set forth,
Threaded a path by devious ways, westward and south and north
Dallied with Death at every breath while many a moon went by
Tell he found the brake by the Silent Lake where the Elephants come to die.
Tusk upon tusk lay whitely there, under a twisted tree
Wealth of the world, bleached stark and bare - and he gazed upon his fee
Dreaming the dream of a mighty scheme - and ambition fluttered high
Till he sank, and slept - and the rumour crept through the Place where the Elephants die.
But the Elephant Clan were close at heel - for the place was theirs to hold,
Sacrosanct to the common weal, out of the mists of old -
And the word went forth south to north, and the herds came thundering by
To kill the man who had braved the Clan in the Place where they came to die.
Only a native tale, you say, laughing in light disdain?
Maybe so - but what avail to jest when the facts are plain?
Lets hint who found on his camping ground or under the open sky
One Elephant dead then shake his head at "The Place where the Elephants die!"