A new year … and a new story. Read my latest for The Walrus, “Charlie,” right here. It’s about a drunk elephant … and a miraculous boy. It’s dedicated to my friend Muzi, who vanished a long time ago…

From now on, my Walrus stories will appear every two weeks – every second Tuesday.

Remember: if you like my stories, let The Walrus know by sending a quick note to letters@thewalrus.ca, a tweet to @walrusmagazine or slapping a comment on their facebook page. Every message helps.

Thank-you so much, for reading…


The Little Elephant


The squeaky little elephant,

all day long, sings his mama’s song –

but it comes out wrong!

Though he blows his nose,

and grows his cheeks,

and practices week after week after week,

nothing comes out

but a sweet sneakersqueak –


(a teeny air leak).

“Too bad,” he says. “Too bad.”

Little elephant’s so sad.


Sometimes, mama elephant,

walking along, hears the little song

coming out all wrong.

Of course she knows

it’s just a squeak –

but he does practice week after week after week.

So when nothing comes out

but a cupboarddoor creak –


(a mini mouse shriek),

his mama says, “That’s LOUD!”

Little elephant’s so proud.

*     *     *

From The Conga Lion, an unpublished collection of jungle-themed children’s poetry.


[Cleaning out an old valise, I rediscovered this poem, written a dozen years ago, when I was a children’s poet. So much has changed since then. So very much. But the poem remains the same. -R] 




One day, the Rusty Elephant,

thundering sweetly down the street,

forgot to watch his elefeet,

which all got caught in wet cement.

Silly but true,

stuck like glue,

oh, what’s an elephant to do?


When darling Daisy May went past,

skipping, flipping through a book,

Rusty shouted, “Daisy, look!

Help me, little friend, and fast!”

How he sighed,

and how she tried—

as hard as the cement that dried!


“How terrible!” he cried. “How bleak!”

“I’ll be here a hundred years,

with no one to dry my rusty tears!”

(which then went tumbling down his cheek).

And from his nose,

a sound arose—

like a trumpet when it blows!


“Oh elephant,” said Daisy May,

a little sadly—“Don’t feel bad.

To make it better, I’d be glad

to come and see you every day.

I’ll read you tales

of ships and whales,

and stormy nights—that never fails!”


“Zazoo-maloo!” old Rusty said

(that’s jungle-talk for “Thank-you, Miss!”).

He gave the girl one tusky kiss,

and whisked her up onto his head.

“And now, some fun—

the tale’s begun,”

said Daisy. “Peter Pan, page one!”


If you go skipping on cement,

one summer day, down Jungle Street,

be sure to watch your people-feet,

until you meet the elephant.

Yes, it’s true,

he’s stuck like glue,

but I think he looks glad—don’t you?