Poetry Plus!

Photo by Susan Clampitt

Lee Woodman, Poet

Poetry Plus!

Photo by Susan Clampitt

I call this volume SOULSCAPES–a journey toward connection and meaning through imagery and words. As a poet, wanderer, and wonderer, I try through my work to make sense of the universe.

Thanks to adventuresome parents and a rich and tapestried childhood in France, India, and the United States, I was introduced to many ways of looking at the world. Read more…

Lee Woodman’s fifth poetry collection Soulscapes is a transformative journey for both speaker and reader.
—Emily Holland, editor of Poet Lore

…Woodman declares, “I sense other ways of knowing,” and we are the fortunate beneficiaries of her penetrating, beautiful insights.
—Zeina Azzam, Poet Laureate of the City of Alexandria, Virginia

Soulscapes, poems by Lee Woodman

Featured Poem

Elephas Maximus

Matthew, my keeper, thinks he knows me:
he reports that unlike most females who gather in groups,
I choose to stand by the water hole alone

swaying side to side

Some might say I’m shifting my five-ton body to be
more comfortable, but I know the baby-bull inside
could take twenty months to emerge,

swaying inside me, all two hundred pounds of him

Matthew helps satisfy my penchant for eating loads
of food each day: grass, tree bark, fruit, stems, and hay—
bananas and jackfruit

He thinks I’m smart, very smart— recognizing myself in
mirrors like dolphins and chimps— recognizing all
the keepers who take good care of me,

who say that I sway side to side for stimulation

Matthew says the motion keeps me cool, and that I’m
a good swimmer, seeing that I have a
permanent snorkel, thanks to my trunk

He invites visitors to guess my age, by
the telltale pink spots on my upper body and
patches on my flapping ears

He’s loyal and affectionate, spending hours making
me push logs and roll tires for exercise,
chopping carrots and sugarcane that I love

Matthew knows that at night, I can lie down sideways but
during daytime nap-hour, sometimes choose to stand,
perhaps in a state of readiness to move on

Here is what Matthew cannot know:
what I hide inside my brain— memories of my mother,
the matriarch, who led us across the savannah—

remembering how she taught us to bathe every day
splashing up water until completely clean,
then spraying sand all over our hides so

no sunburn could reach us, no insects could infest;
she showed us how to swat away
pests with the hairy loop of her tail

A newcomer to captivity, I retain memories of how
when still there, I was able to smell years of dried dung,
left by my mother near the grave where her herd

buried her—a dart in her side

I swayed then, anguished because I could not pluck
the deathly needle from her lumbering
body, spray dust in the wound

These are merely dreams now, distant visions. Along
with other orphans who could not survive in the wild,
I embrace my safe quarters far from Gujarat,

blink my long eyelashes for the keepers who toil to know us.
They think it is to keep bees from stinging, but Matthew
may know it is to hide my tears

I sway,
and for him, my favorite, I stop to wrap my trunk
gently around his bony ankles

 

  • First published by Shanti Arts Publishing 2023

Featured News & Events

Readings for 2024 TBA

Elephas Maximus

I am available for speaking engagements, poetry readings, and media interviews. And, I love doing them!

Please contact me to learn more.