The Blind Men and the Elephant

Pondering the current socio-political strife in my country, I’m drawn to the ancient, yet curiously modern tale of the blind men and the elephant.

Here’s my take on it:


Five men were led to an elephant

A beast they could never actually know

For nature had failed to give them eyes

To them all was darkness, above and below


And yet you may feel with your hands, they were told

So touch this creature and say what is true

It’s as thick and as strong as a banyan root

Said the first with absolute certitude


You lie! It’s as thin as sisal twine

Said the next as he felt the great animal’s tail

Deceit! cried the man who was touching its ears

It’s as wide and as lithe as a Bengal boat’s sail


Cease your gibbering jokes! said the fourth

It’s as hard and firm as a plastered fence

Not so! cried the fifth as he fondled its trunk

It writhes like a cobra. You lack all sense!


Then the one who had led the blind men there

Said, Behold, each sightless man is right

You lie! averred a sighted observer

Each is wrong! Then he raised his fists to fight


Wait! cried a formerly silent onlooker

It’s true that each of the men spoke truth

But only in part, and there’s the fault

For a partial truth has no earthly use

And in the end no person alone

Can ever be fully, finally free

As long as we fancy our vision complete

For only together can we truly see


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Poetry, Story Power and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Blind Men and the Elephant

  1. Heather says:

    I’ve always liked the “original” version of this illustration. It’s so true in many areas of life. And especially regarding the body of Christ.
    Every part is essential. Every perspective has value. And, too often, the greatest error we engage is clinging to the arrogance of assumption that *I* own all the truth and don’t need to consider the potential value of someone else’s ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this, thanks 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. RGS says:

    Wow! I agree. This is brilliant. And so profound. God speaks through you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Clever and on-point, as usual, Mitch. Would that our current leaders could see us through to compromises and mutually agreed-upon solutions for the problems facing our country and the world. I’m thinking about the founding fathers who had their fair share of heated arguments as they wrote the Constitution, and almost dissolved the convention. But they didn’t give up. May God grant such perseverance, patience, creativity, and wisdom to those in leadership now!


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