Six blind old men went to a zoo Which blind men do not often do.
They wished to find out more about Their unknown world I have no doubt.
It was not easy so to do, Especially at our London zoo.
They heard a creature give a bellow, The trumpet call was hardly mellow.
They followed the sound until they came To where were housed all the big game.
Determined to go where blind men go They encountered a creature they did not know.
They ventured into the elephants lair, Sensing this to be just where
They could discover just what it is Makes this creature a walking quiz.
* * *
Tim fell against its side so tall, Crying “This is a mighty wall”.
Jim touched its Tusk and gave a cry, “It is a Spear I’ll not deny”.
Lim felt its trunk and began to quake, “I’m pretty sure it is a snake”.
Dim touched a leg saying with glee, “Well, this can only be a tree”.
Kim then reached up and touched an ear, “This is a fan it is quite clear”.
Yim lifted the tail saying in hope, “I’m almost sure this is a rope”.
* * *
They thought, each one, that they’d found out Just what Jumbo was all about.
So I ask you please, whate’er you see, You don’t need a first-class degree.
Just never get your logic mangled, Make sure your view is multi-angled.
The story of the SIX BLIND MEN has its possible origins in India, but the same basic story has appeared with variations in many different cultures. I first came across it in the Chinese version. The story in essence tells of blind men who, never having been able to see an elephant, decided to use their sense of touch to discover what sort of a creature it was. On doing so, each one pronounced on the basis of their own, very limited,view. Because each man touched only one part of the elephant, and based their judgement on what they had found, each came up with a different version of what they considered the creature to be like.
So, In turn, each blind man created his own version of reality from that limited experience and perspective. In philosophy departments throughout the world, the Blind Men and the Elephant has become the exemplar of moral relativism and religious tolerance.
So this ancient parable is used today as a warning for people that promote absolute truth or exclusive religious claims. It demonstrates that our sensory perceptions and life experiences can, if we are not careful, lead to a very limited understanding and interpretation of the nature of something or someone else. With only a limited understanding of truth we can only receive a constrained version of reality.
There are several versions in poetic form of this story, to which I have added my own above, with the title ‘The Patchwork Pachyderm’ !
After my attempt at a cinquaine in a recent blog, I turn to another verse form, sounding rather similar but conforming to a different set of rules.
AQuinzaineis an un-rhymedverse of fifteensyllables. The word comes from the French wordquinze, meaning fifteen. The syllables are distributed over three lines so that there are seven syllables in the first line, five in the second line, and three in the third line (7/5/3). The first line makes a statement. The next two lines ask a question relating to that statement. From: Wikipedia).
Below are 4 of my attempts at a quinzaine, each related to one of my own photographs
Look! The sun is coming out Isn’t it home time? Dog: Food time?
I just shot an albatross Does that mean bad luck? Isn’t life short?
Resting place for my ashes Will I end up there? Who can tell?
The owl is a wise old bird Does a stone one count? Can he hoot?
Sedate And ponderous He carries his weight lightly But without pace It is summer work Plying the bank Subject to the weather And his master Apparently contented But perhaps sad Would he rather be elsewhere But what would he know Of elsewhere This has been his life His only life Since brought into this world Delivered as a foal by a mother Who knew only this very same life Tutored on this very canal bank Learning the towpath’s bends Its tricky turns The track ruts to avoid The necessary manoeuvres When hitching up H is purpose in life Why else was he brought into this world He knows his master Trusts and Respects him Always by his side His every command Gentle but firm A tug on the lead A wary grunt They tread the canal bank The towpath to pleasure Other’s pleasure His Pilgrim’s Way The daily round His common task
Broken only at the terminus A half-way respite By the bridge A brief uncoupling A hay bag A nuzzle A few photographs Then the return The narrow boat his carriage Its passengers his charges He carries on Always carries on Trundling his life In peace In tranquillity His boat His harnessed heritage Disturbing the reeds And the ducks only Creating a minor slipstream Before the end Disembarkation Then a brief hiatus Before the ever echoing pattern Repeats itself As do the days And the months Until Darkness descends And time Ceases to exist
This canal ride is offered during the Summer months on one of the last Horse-Drawn Barges in Great Britain. Scheduled rides on the canal boat start and end from the point where the Great Western Canal commences, in Tiverton, East Devon. Details of what is on offer at this delightful site and timetable of the canal trips can be found on the website below . . .
This poem, ‘Death’, by W.B.Yeats (1865 – 1939} is one of his shortest. It attempts to contrast the death of of animals, who do not possess such a concept, with the centrality, the significance and the certitude of what death means in the experience of all human beings. Yeats wrote this poem in 1929 and published it in his 1933 collection, ‘The Winding Stair and Other Poems’.
Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died,
Many times rose again.
A great man in his pride
Confronting murderous men
Casts derision upon
Supersession of breath;
He knows death to the bone –
Man has created death.
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill, He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push The feathered glory from her loosening thighs? And how can body, laid in that white rush, But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there The broken wall, the burning roof and tower And Agamemnon dead. Being so caught up, So mastered by the brute blood of the air, Did she put on his knowledge with his power Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
The Irish poet, W.B.Yeats, wrote ‘Leda and the Swan’ in 1923, the year in which he was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature. Yeats, who had a great love of both folklore and mythology, chose to write his version of the story of Leda and the Swan as a Petrarchan sonnet. It tells the story of Zeus, the Father of the Greek Gods, and his seduction in the form of a swan, of Leda, daughter of King Thestius. One interpretation of the story as presented by Yeats, is to see its theme as a metaphor for British involvement in Ireland. Alternatively, it can be read as a generalised representation of the way western civilisation has developed. His choice to write the poem as a sonnet can also be viewed as an ironic comment, contrasting what is a rape with a poetic form normally associated with love and romance.