elephant graphic

Matthew, think what it might mean,
if I could talk to the animals, just imagine it
Chatting to a chimp in chimpanzee
Imagine talking to a tiger, chatting to a cheetah
What a neat achievement that would be.

If we could talk to the animals, learn their languages
Maybe take an animal degree.
I’d study elephant and eagle, buffalo and beagle,
Alligator, guinea pig, and flea.

I would converse in polar bear and python,
And I Would curse in fluent kangaroo.
If people asked me, can you speak rhinoceros,
I’d say, “Of courserous, can’t you?”

If I conferred with our furry friends, man to animal
think of the amazing repartee
If I could walk with the animals, talk with the animals,
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals,
and they could talk to me.

If I consulted with quadripeds
Think what fun we’d have, asking over crocodiles for tea
or maybe lunch with two or three lions, walruses or sea lions
what a lovely place the world would be

If I spoke slang to Orangutans, the advantages
any fool on earth could plainly see
discussing eastern art and dramas with intellectual llamas
That’s a big step forward, you’d agree

I’d learn to speak in antelope and turtle
my pekingese would be extremely good
If I were asked to sing in hippopotamus
I’d say why-not-amus and would

If I could parlay with with pachyderms
It’s a fairy tale worthy of Hans Anderson or Grimm
If I could walk with the animals, talk with the animals,
Grunts and squeaks and squawk with the animals,
I can’t wait to start…

A man can talk to the animals, it’s a miracle
In a year from now I guarantee
I’ll be the marvel of the mammals, playing chess with camels
no more just a boring old M.D.

I’ll study every living creature’s language
so I can speak to all of them on sight
If friends say, “can he talk in crab or pelican”
you’ll say, “Like hell-he-can”
and you’ll be right

And if you just start to think of it
There’s no doubt of it
I’ll shall win a place in history
that I can walk with the animals, talk with the animals,
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals,
and they speak and squawk and squeak and talk
to me.

If we could talk to the animals, learn their languages
Think of all the things we could discuss
If we could walk with the animals, talk with the animals,
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals,
And they could and talk to us.

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If We Could Talk to the Animals

Dr. Doolittle - 1967

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Graphic - Yana Movchan

In the elephant field
tall green ghost elephants
with your cargo of summer leaves

at night I heard you breathing at the window

Don’t you ever think I’m not crying
since you’re away from me
Don’t ever think I went free

At first the goodbye had a lilt to it—
maybe just a couple of months—
but it was a beheading.

Ghost elephant,
reach down,
cross me over—

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Ghost Elephants

Jean Valentine, 1934

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Graphic - Daniel Bilmes