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Elephant Poem Analysis

Author: poem of Judy Grahn Type: poem Views: 39

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Suppose you have an elephant

with 56 millimeter trunk

and say he's

      tearing up the jungle

(say you think he's drunk

or crazy)

How're you going to bring that elephant down?

lion can't

bear could but don't want to

and the panther's too small for that job.

Then suppose you have an elephant

with million millimeter trunk

and his jungle is the whole green world?

(and drunk

and crazy)

you see the problem.

            one more word

about elephants

No matter how hard they try

elephants cannot pick their noses

any more than bankers can hand out money

or police put away their pistols

or politicians get right with God.

a sty

in the elephant's eye

aint nothing

but a fly in his nose

is a serious if not fatal condition

when the fly

gets into that nostril

it begins to swell

and stay closed

he can't smell can't drink can't think

can't get one up

on anybody

he begins to regret

all that flabby ammunition

hanging on him

he begins to wish

he'd been a little more bare-faced

like an ape or a fish

all those passageways

he needs to feed himself

tied up


by a fly

a million flies

outweigh a trunk

a tank

a bank

a million flies

outthink a pile of IBM


we must be wise

to the elephant's lies

you may think we should try

to sober him up

but the trouble isn't that he's drunk

the trouble is

that he's an elephant

with multi-millimeter trunk

who believes the world is his jungle

and until he dies

he grows and grows

we must be flies

in the elephant's nose

ready to carry on

in every town

you know there are butterflies

there are horse flies and house flies

blue flies, shoo flies and it's-not-

true flies

then there are may flies and wood flies

but I'm talking about

can flies & do flies

bottle flies, rock flies and sock flies

dragonflies and fireflies

in the elephant's nose

ready to carry on

til he goes down

Anonymous submission.


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