The Elephant in the Room
By Bart Vogelzang

The following nursery rhyme caught my eye for its relevance to some of what is happening so often today.

Alchin, L.K. Rhymes.org.uk (Nursery Rhymes lyrics and Origins)
Example retrieved September 9 2011 from
www.rhymes.org.uk

The Elephant Rhyme is also known as The Blind Men and the Elephant. The Elephant Rhyme was written by the American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) The Elephant Rhyme is a poem with a morale reflecting on people who express their views on subjects that they have no experience of, or as in the Elephant Rhyme that they have never seen. The morale of the Elephant Rhyme is similar to that expressed by the Scarecrow in the wonderful Children's film - The Wizard Of Oz. The screen play / script of the Wizard of Oz movie was written by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allen Woolf.  
The similarity comes when Dorothy asks the Scarecrow, "How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?"
To which the Scarecrow replies, "I don't know. But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?"

See below for the words and morale of the Elephant Rhyme.

The Elephant Rhyme

It was six men of Indostan

To learning much inclined,

Who went to see the Elephant

(Though all of them were blind),

That each by observation

Might satisfy his mind.
 
The First approached the Elephant,

And happening to fall

Against his broad and sturdy side,

At once began to bawl:

“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”


The Second, feeling of the tusk,

Cried, “Ho! What have we here

So very round and smooth and sharp?

To me ’tis mighty clear

This wonder of an Elephant

Is very like a spear!”


The Third approached the animal,

And happening to take

The squirming trunk within his hands,

Thus boldly up and spake:

“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant

Is very like a snake!”


The Fourth reached out an eager hand,

And felt about the knee.

“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“ ‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”


The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,

Said: “E’en the blindest man

Can tell what this resembles most;

Deny the fact who can

This marvel of an Elephant

Is very like a fan!”


The Sixth no sooner had begun

About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,

“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant

Is very like a rope!”


And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,

Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,

Though each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong!

The Moral of the Elephant Rhyme:

So oft in theologic wars,

The disputants, I ween,

Rail on in utter ignorance

Of what each other mean,

And prate about an Elephant

Not one of them has seen!!

Rightwing bigots take note:
If you’re not LGBTQ you don’t know what you are talking about, so stop prating, please. And, if you do insist on going on and on about it, Shakespeare’s “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” probably applies; and you’d best be looking in your own closet for an explanation of your vehemence.

© 2011 Bart Vogelzang All Rights Reserved