The Elephant Sanctuary and my poem about it

Why I cry for elephants

Sometimes I avoid that newsletter
until I get to the bottom of the stack.
Then I turn my attention to the sanctuary
for endangered elephants.

Tarra who forged an unlikely friendship with a dog.
When Bella was killed by a coyote,
Tarra carried her back to her people
who would know what to do.
After years living here, Tarra trusted.
They say Tarra still visits the little dog’s grave.

Training Lizzie to take pills for TB—
157 capsules in extra treats and Gatorade.

Rescuing Ramba all the way from Chile.
What love is so big it can circle a 6,000 pound elephant?

They say they let elephants be elephants.
The caretakers say they get back more than they give.
They’re here because of a calling;
they’re here to give to the Girls.
That’s what they call Tarra, Lizzie, and Ramba.

Ramba still does not trust human touch
but she is learning.
Now she can graze, swim, and roll in the mud.
Now she can be with her own kind,
just an elephant being natural
in the state of Tennessee.

After reading I realize
the sadness that started
is transformed to relief.
These elephants have found a home.
These fortunate ones get to be free
because of caretakers who wept, like me,
then gathered the hay, cleaned the barns,
led the school presentations–
people who believed
their sacrifice was worth it
for these amazing huge beings.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And what do elephants have to do with goddesses and the spiritual? I believe we are all connected, that nature is not something to be controlled, that human beings are not the dominant species wreaking havoc (though too often it’s true). I believe elephants are amazing and remind us of something bigger than ourselves (pun intended). I believe elephants do not exist for our entertainment. I believe we must make up for all the abuse and neglect already done.

So, although when I saw videos of Tarra and her dog companion Bella, I cried because it was so sweet. Then I cried because Bella got killed by coyotes. Then I cried because Tarra carried her friend of another species back to the humans to let them know. But after the good cry, I am content to know that the two got to befriend one another in this sanctuary. I laugh to see videos of elephants rolling in the mud, running in a field. This is good and I am lucky to see it for free, on the internet, in the comfort of my home. These caretakers of the girls (as they call their roles) are amazing human beings, dedicating so much time and effort for the elephants. The elephant is an amazing species. I like to think they remind us of our own amazing selves.

To find out more about this amazing sanctuary, go to


2 responses to “The Elephant Sanctuary and my poem about it

  1. Beautiful poem, Phebe. I like “I cried because” as a refrain to structure the poem……

  2. just beautiful, Phebes. Thank you for the virtual visit. I am off to surf their dot com even now. 🙂

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