A body with breath stopped,
we let it go with the clouds.
Or make al little room in earth
and deck the place with words, flowers and sand.
Back to the grave we go, mourning the ashes;
nothing to touch.

How differently elephants live with their dead.
Year after year, still tenderly rocking the fragments
of a whole life, once embraced in skin,
their trunks stroking the bones,
bringing the parts together, strewing them
with sweet grass, branches and warm sand.

If we peel off our lust for dominion,
give back all the looted jewels,
if the churches no longer believe,
might we come into that paradise?

Imagine yourself between resurrected elephants,
trumpeters on every side.


Translation: Kate Foley

© Henk van Zuiden