This oliphant was carved from ivory
and blown by a man who enjoyed hunting.
The man who blew the horn is
labelled in the cathedral treasury.
A Catholic relic revealing Islamic art:
a Fatimid warrior, gazelles, giraffe,
How did the man who blew this horn,
a thousand years ago, gain such treasure?
How many lives were taken altogether?
We can’t forgive inherent cruelty
but can take time to admire artistry,
carving beasts lined up for slaughter.
We know who killed the elephant,
can name the hunter not the artisan
which tells us much of medieval lives.
If the horn is blown
it will shatter.
All who held this oliphant
and trusted it was beautiful,
will have become dust.
Clint Wastling’s poetry has been published in Blue Nib, Dream Catcher, Strix, Marble and online with The Algebra of Owls. He’s also been published in the USA in Parody and Avocet. Clint has a pamphlet: Layers published by Maytree Press. His novel, The Geology of Desire, is an LGBTQ thriller set around Whitby in the 1980’s and Hull during World War II. He also has a sci-fi novel: Tyrants Rex set 3000 years in the future, both published by Stairwell Books.
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