“Seeing The Elephant”


(March 6, 2019)

went one day to watch

horizoning elephants*

said little, showed much

*(Never – previous to my deplaning at DaNang Air Force Base for the first time – given much thought to the old bromide “Seeing The Elephant.” My earliest reference was in War Between The States readings as a youth. Paid it little mind; when upon receiving orders to WESTPAC – and I just knew that meant Vietnam for me – a fellow Marine who knew my MOS (military occupational specialty) quipped: “guess you’ll get your chance ‘To See The Elephant.'” I still did not make the connection from old tales, fairy tales, seastories and reality. Even the welcome to the Seventh Marines’ combat base headquarters at Landing Zone (LZ) Baldy, an old Americal Division U. S. Army base earlier in the war before the tactical areas of responsiblilty (TAOR) were realigned, still I had made no connection with a circus or zoo animal with the actuality after cordite has been offered, accepted and exchanged from two sides of a treeline. Then, that happened one fine cloudless just-after-monsoon morning. Then I knew The Elephant. And a lot of what that implied. Later, I learned more. Got to know and appreciate the pachyderm and some of its surprising habits. Suffice to say I toss peanuts at the zoos and do not gently or ungently patronize the circus.)

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