What Does the Elephant

What does the Elephant consider of the blind men
Feeling it so uninsightfully?
Does it too wonder, or does it grasp what is going on?
Is it perhaps embarrassed at the strange procedure,
Being discussed, and being touched, yanked,
Smelled, groped, handled God knows where?
Why does it stand there patiently,
Enduring all that sightless feeling?
Would it be happier if it were seen?
What more would seeing men know anyway?
No, that would still not end its immense loneliness,
Even if an opened eye, like Shiva’s,
Burned out the phantoms of imagination.
What could being seen mean to the Elephant?

What does the Elephant remember from before Time,
Deeper than any fate that men could bear,
Which if they guessed might send them screaming
Back into non-being for eternity?
As curious as cats they come;
Its secret safe it brooks approach;
What does it want of men, if anything?
Even endless Time could not foresee itself,
Always an unanticipated thing appears.
Is Man that thing? And does the Elephant
Now play Time’s deputy, examiner?
Who then is feeling whom? This is the dance:
Feeler and felt exchanging innocence.
What does the Elephant, and what does Man?

© Copyright 2004 by Richard Hodges
All Rights Reserved