I recently revised this poem for submission to the Cheerio’s “Spoonful of Stories” contest. I think the revision is better, tighter. What do you think?
THE ELEPHANTS’ SONG
Story by Linda Watkins, Illustrations by Marge Lebel
Ruffles and Sneakers and Boo,
Were elephants who lived in the Zoo.
Sneak was tall,
Boo was fat,
Ruff was blind as a bat,
And he’d been that way since he was two.
At the Zoo they got plenty to eat,
And their cage was kept really quite neat.
Their keeper was kind
And of very sound mind,
And often would give them a treat.
They’d once lived on the African plain,
Where they danced and sang in the rain,
Now their freedom was gone
And so was their song,
And they wished they were there once again.
So one day Sneak had an idea,
“Let’s escape and go far, far from here.
Let’s go back to the plain,
See our homeland again,
Where the air is so clean and so clear.”
So that night while the zookeeper slept,
To his bed, our little Boo crept,
And just as you please,
She plucked out the keys.
At this she was really adept.
So away from the zoo they all ran.
They ran without any clear plan.
Sneak took care of dear Ruff,
When the going got tough,
“You can do it,” she said. “Yes, you can.”
They ran till they found a bus stop,
And onto the bus they did hop,
The bus driver’s eyes
Opened wide in surprise,
As into the seats they did drop – Kerplop!
The three pachyderms were so weary,
Boo and Ruff were getting quite teary.
Sneak said, “Please don’t be sad,
It isn’t that bad,”
As she tried to make everyone cheery.
The bus driver whose name was Mort,
Was a man of the very best sort.
He said, “Come home with me,
We’ll have warm pie and tea,
Or maybe a wee glass of Port.”
“A splendid idea,” said dear Boo,
And Sneakers and Ruff thought so, too.
So they went to Mort’s home,
Which was made of pink stone
And had quite a marvelous view.
Mort’s wife gave them warm pie and tea,
And then said, “Oh, please come with me.
I’ll make a disguise,
To satisfy prying eyes,
It will work, oh, I know, perfectly.”
She gave Boo a hat and a dress,
For Sneak, a coat and a vest.
Dear Ruff got a tie,
A monocle for his eye,
And he knew that he just looked the best.
Said Mort, “We must hurry, my dears,
We must scamper right down to the pier,
Where you’ll get on a ship,
Give Zookeeper the slip,
And then you’ll have nothing to fear.”
Into Mort’s car they all squeezed,
With Boo sitting on Ruffles’ knees.
They went straight to the pier,
Which was really quite near.
They couldn’t have been much more pleased.
They boarded a luxury liner,
Whose accommodations could not have been finer.
As the ship left the port,
They waved to dear Mort,
For to them he could not have been kinder.
On the ship they made friends with the crew.
They were loved by the passengers, too.
With the captain they dined
On truffles and wine,
And all the men danced with dear Boo.
Then one day Ruff sniffed in the air,
“I smell it, I smell it, I swear,
The air is so sweet,
It will tickle your feet,
And I know that we soon will be there.”
They ran on the deck in the rain
And beheld the sweet African plain.
They sang and they danced,
Yes, they practically pranced,
To see their dear homeland again.
So, they told the good captain their plan,
And because he was such a kind man,
He let them debark
Near an animal park,
And into that park they all ran.
“The park’s a fine place,” said dear Boo,
It’s not at all like the Zoo.
Here we can run free,
Here we can just BE,
And we’ll find other elephants, too!”
They danced and they sang and they played,
Till suddenly late in the day,
They heard a great roar,
And Sneaker was sure
It was an elephant with something to say!
They watched as an elephant herd
Approached without saying a word.
There were big ones and small ones,
Short ones and tall ones.
To count them was almost absurd.
Then one of the herd raised her head.
She let out a cry and then said,
“Why, my children are here
After so many years.
I thought that you must have been dead.”
So after much hugging and tears,
The elephants forgot all their fears.
For the love of a mother
Can be like no other
And will stay with you all through the years.
So, now this story is done
And I hope that you all had some fun.
But for Ruff, Sneak and Boo,
The world is brand new
And the adventure has hardly begun!