Thursday Photo Friday #13

November 27, 2008

in Europe, Germany, Photos, Travel

It was six men of Hindustan to learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant (though all of them were blind),
That each by observation might satisfy the mind.

blind men and the elephant

The first approached the Elephant and happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side at once began to bawl:
“Bless me, it seems the Elephant is very like a wall.”

The second, feeling of his 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.”

blind man and the elephant trunkThe third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Then 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!”

blind man and the elephant earThe 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 Hindustan 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.

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!

– John Godfrey Saxe, “The Blindmen and the Elephant”

Photographs taken in the Garden for the Blind, Freizeitpark Rheinaue, Bonn, Germany (June 2008 )

  • Like travel photography? Join the Photo Friday crew here.
  • More of a poetry fiend? Follow along with Poetry Friday here.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TadMack 11.28.08 at 1:26 pm

A fun oldie with some really gorgeous photographs! Welcome to Poetry Friday!

2 Laura Purdie Salas 11.28.08 at 4:29 pm

I’ve always heard this as an anecdote, but I’ve never read the actual poem. Thanks for sharing!

3 minnemom 11.28.08 at 4:37 pm

I really enjoyed this. I’ve heard the poem before, but to have a statue from it is really interesting.

4 marina 11.28.08 at 6:11 pm

great picture, but the poem makes it truly come to life. my grandma is blind, and i kind of have an idea what it’s like for her, however, she’s amazing at 80 to be fully taking care of herself!

Photo Friday: Poas Volcano, Costa Rica

5 Angela Nickerson 11.28.08 at 9:56 pm

Marvelous! I’d read the poem before, but the photos add another dimension. And I’ve never heard of Poetry Friday. Now I am going to check that out!

6 Lisa Chellman 11.29.08 at 1:15 am

I love the photos to go with the verse! Just beautiful.

7 Heatheronhertravels 11.29.08 at 1:27 am

I love to see poetry and sculpture as part of the landscape

8 Dominique 11.29.08 at 2:13 am

I’ve heard the story as well, but putting the poem with the photos makes it come to life as others have already pointed out.
And the elephant’s trunk is up…good thing, as I’ve always heard that signified good luck!

9 cloudscome 11.29.08 at 3:10 am

Wonderful photos of that garden statue. There is something about that story poem that connects with all of us.

10 Debbie Dubrow 11.29.08 at 10:41 pm

Loving the combination of poetry and photography — both seem more lively than they would alone!

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