Devony Hof

I watch human hands unearth my bone,
Then my tusks, delicate, side by side
As they once painted us, marked and dried
Running, running, running into stone.

Once moving us by the sun’s bright breath
Tugged by their hands from very old earth.
A frightening, strangely bloodless birth

I think I remember a song.

Sleep in the curve of my trunk, my love,
Dream well, my small shaggy rover,
Do not fear the cold night above
But know that you are watched over.

The warmth of ice-crusted fur, beating

For the Great Mammoth walks at night
Watching us in his clouded eye.
His arching tusks of green-glown light
Shimmer across the star-blown sky,

Misty-plumed trunks, thrust up in greeting

The wind’s dark howl within the snow
Is only his trumpeting call,
For though our progress may be slow,
He knows through storms we walk on, All.

Her foot in melted snow, retreating

Frozen waters fill his footprints,
As you fill my own bone-caged heart,
He will watch us with starry glints,
Even when we are far apart.

Apart, the hands are coiling two chains
Winding strands, round and rounding and round,
Around the sun, bright burning crowned,
In paint-marked tusks, yellow-white remains,

No, fingers, Arching across the sky,
Bright sun-spotted skin trumpeting dust
Lone mammoth wandering earth’s red crust,
Imagined creature of the human eye,

More footprints walked across in clouds,
Brushed aside her lyrics windy blown,
The many dull-colored-starry shrouds,
Fingers, yes, fingers on my bones.

When asked about the inspiration for this piece, Devony said, “This piece originally came out of a play I wrote about the ghosts of extinct animals and was inspired by my fascination with all of the creatures that have come and gone on our planet, as well as the recent ‘deextinction’ initiatives to bring certain species, like the mammoth, back from the grave with cloning and genome editing. In this lullaby, I hoped to capture the sense of loss that comes from our limited knowledge of these ancient mammals.”