Traditional Poem: Salute to the Elephant

Salute to the Elephant 

O elephant, possessor of a savings-basket full of money 
O elephant, huge as a hill, even in a crouching posture. 
O elephant, enfolded by honour, demon, flapping fans of war.
Demon who snaps tree branches into many pieces and moves on to the forest farm. 
O elephant, who ignores "I have fled to my father for refuge", 
Let alone 'to my mother' 
Mountainous Animal, Huge Beast who tears a man like a garment 
And hangs him up on a tree. 
The sight of whom causes people to stampede towards a hill of safety. 
My chant is a salute to the elephant. 
Ajanaku who walks with a heavy tread. 
Demon who swallows palm-fruit bunches whole, even with the spiky pistil-cells. 
O elephant, praise-named Laaye, massive animal, blackish-grey in complexion. 
O elephant, who single-handed causes a tremor in a dense tropical forest. 
O elephant, who stands sturdy and alert, who walks slowly as if reluctantly. 
O elephant, whom one sees and points towards with all one's fingers. 
The hunter's boast at home is not repeated when he really meets the elephant.
The hunter's boast at home is not repeated before the elephant. 
Ajanaku looks back with difficulty like a person suffering from a sprained neck.  
The elephant has a porter's-knot without having any load on his head. 
The elephant's head is his burden which he balances.
O elephant, praise named Laaye, 'O death, please stop following me' —
This is part and parcel of the elephant's appellation. 
If you wish to know the elephant, the elephant who is a veritable ferry-man.  
The elephant whom honour matches, the elephant who continually swings his trunk, 
His upper fly-switch, 
It's the elephant whose eyes are veritable water-jars. 
O elephant, the vagrant par excellence, 
Whose molar teeth are as wide as palm-oil pits in ljesaland. 
O elephant, lord of the forest, respectfully called Oriiribobo 
O elephant whose teeth are like shafts. 
One tooth of his is a porter's load, O elephant fondly called Otiko 
Who has a beast-of-burden's proper neck. 
O elephant, whom the hunter sometimes sees face to face. 
O elephant, whom the hunter at other times sees from the rear. 
Beast who carries mortars and yet walks with a swaggering gait. 
Primeval leper, animal treading ponderously. 

(translated from Yorùbá by A. Babalola)

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