To coincide with the unveiling of a new statue in Leamington Spa early this spring, I have been commissioned to write a poem on the history of circus elephants in Leamington Spa.
I was amazed by the idea that Leamington and elephants were somehow linked, and at first couldn't see an easy way into the poem. But now that I've done some research, and let those ideas and images stew away in the back of my head for the past few weeks, the possibility of a poem is beginning to take shape.
Back in the Victorian era, circus elephants were kept in Leamington by the famous elephant trainer Sam Lockhurst (born Leamington, 1850). A special slipway - nicknamed Elephant Walk - was even built to allow the huge animals to be bathed in the river. You can find out more at this site, detailing the history of Leamington Spa.
It's always hard to get from commission to final poem, but there are so many exciting elements to this particular idea that it's been difficult to settle on a single theme. Hopefully it will now take its final shape in my head and be written over the next few weeks.
Once the commissioned poem has been read at the unveiling ceremony, I shall probably be posting it on this blog for everyone to read.