DEAD ELEPHANTS

By Posted on 2 Comments1min read118 views

Whenever and wherever I encounter

the idiom about the elephant

in the room I think of Clive of India –

the victor of the Battle of Plassey,

main accessory of the first Bengal

Famine, multi-millionaire, whose crimes,

Samuel Johnson claimed, ‘impelled him

to cut his own throat’, and whose controversial

statue stands in Shrewsbury’s town square –

and of Lancelot Spode, a stringer

for The Shropshire Gleaner, who, one foggy

November day in the ’50s, disappeared.

 

Spode’s new silver grey Triumph Mayflower

was found, locked, on the road from Market Blandings

to Much Middleford, not a league from

Moreton Say, Clive’s birthplace. The stringer,

it is said, continually searched

the whole of Salop for what he thought

would be the century’s scoop: the graves

of the three elephants it was rumoured

Clive had brought back alive from India.

 

A distant and long dead relative of mine,

a man who could have passed as Trotsky’s dad,

would claim, after a drink or three, to have found

in the wild grounds of a derelict mansion

between Moreton Say and Market Snodsbury –

long ago rebuilt as an hotel and spa –

three deep pits, overgrown, and empty.

Not far from them, still intact, was the rusted

spiral of a reporter’s notebook.

 

 

 

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