John Godfrey Saxe

(1816-1887 / the United States)

The Blind Man And The Elephant

Poem by John Godfrey Saxe

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 nothing but 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, 'I see,' quoth he,
the elephant is very like a snake!'

The fourth reached out his 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,' quothe 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!

So, oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
tread on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
and prate about the elephant, not one of them has seen!


Comments about The Blind Man And The Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe

  • XxZero29NineteenxX (9/1/2019 7:31:00 PM)

    I thought it was good(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • moomoocow22 (6/4/2019 11:22:00 AM)

    I LOVE ELEPHANTS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • cool dudes (2/17/2019 11:46:00 AM)

    boring iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • Mecha Hitler (2/7/2019 9:20:00 AM)

    I hate this poem oooooooooooooooooooooooAlready ReportedReply

    2 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • ahaan (2/3/2019 5:33:00 AM)

    yeah boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooy(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Marilag (1/29/2019 4:42:00 AM)

    How does this poem illustrate the importance of observation in the scientific method(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Onazi zion-praise. (10/26/2018 12:15:00 PM)

    Add a comment.THANKS. I am excited for you say this.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • tharani (6/20/2018 6:19:00 AM)

    this poem is very good i like this poem...(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Jeffrey (6/18/2018 5:33:00 PM)

    did anyone get a correct answer(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • grxxe (6/10/2018 4:06:00 AM)

    did anyone among the blind men give the correct answer? why or why not?Already ReportedReply

    1 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Shy Ahmz (6/6/2018 6:10:00 AM)

    What is the message of the poem(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Frences Eve (6/5/2018 5:16:00 AM)

    Please explain the 4th and 5th stanza(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • zara ahmed (5/26/2018 5:06:00 AM)

    plese expain the stanza 8th(Report)Reply

    Steve(6/3/2018 1:03:00 PM)

    The six men argued for a long time and spoke loudly of what they had experienced of the piece of the elephant they encountered.
    They would not listen, or try to understand, how the others had experienced the elephant.
    As a result each had a part of the truth but, because they would not listen or attempt to understand the others, none actually knew what a whole elephant was really like.

    1 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Payaswini Pande (4/13/2018 10:46:00 PM)

    I like it so much(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • My favorite philosophical poem! (3/24/2018 10:18:00 PM)

    My favorite philosophical poem!(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Terry CraddockTerry Craddock (11/18/2015 1:23:00 AM)

    First Encounter With Elephants For Blind Eyes

    the moral of the famous fable right
    tale 'the blind man and the elephant'
    is clear to see when eyes contrast
    other senses with perception sight...

    the eye sees knows with clarity
    all objects identified in memory
    but blind both orbs of prime identity
    clarification and enter strange mystery...

    will touch be first accurate measure yardstick?
    will ears hear identify absolutely no sound quick?
    what strange tales will smell to new fragrance tell?
    what blind taste tests would rapidly condemn to hell?

    Clever humorous and entertaining bold
    lies a wonderful poem for young and old
    especially children; this famous tale has
    more versions than cats have nine lives...

    but the moral should be when blind
    examine the entire animal for detail and
    consider all the facts figure all angles
    knowing no memory aids not blind eyes...


    Copyright © Terence George Craddock
    Inspired by the poem 'The Blind Man And The Elephant' by John Godfrey Saxe.(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Terry CraddockTerry Craddock (9/20/2015 4:39:00 PM)

    Clever humorous and entertaining, a wonderful poem for young and old, especially children; this famous tale has more versions than cats have lives, but the moral should be when blind examine the entire animal for detail and consider all the facts.(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • James MclainJames Mclain (9/20/2015 1:28:00 PM)

    The reading of this text
    is clear
    for all to see
    Two covers have a book
    opinions are thus worthless
    if there not within your reach.. iip(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Rajnish MangaRajnish Manga (9/20/2015 12:27:00 PM)

    This story is part of the Indian folklore and is enjoyed by all- young or old. The poetic representation has an added flavour. Unless we adopt a holistic approach, we cannot understand any concept or a theory or a reality. Great poem.(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Seema JayaramanSeema Jayaraman (9/20/2015 12:21:00 PM)

    Wow so beautifully and artistically crafted...the act of observation can be penned with so many words and in so many ways...well thought out and laid out(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
Read all 26 comments »




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Poem Submitted: Thursday, September 16, 2010



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