How the Elephant Feels

Thunder feet and iv’ry tusks
Tethered to the ground
Swaying his trunk back forth
In a perfect circle, he was clearly bound

Instinct, it did shout to him,
“You must go walking on!”
But the circus and its patrons
Were his family and home

Some felt good to see him
Some even felt endeared
Others threw peanuts and pebbles
And at the great beast they jeered

But because his presence, definite
Brings some joy and allays fears
Nobody thinks to ask
Just how the elephant feels

As he grew, the manacle
Sharply cut his skin
The pain it grew near daily
Joy, it seemed a sin–

Had he done some evil
To be captured amongst the herd?
Or was it Fortune’s Cudgel
That had his vision blurred

And what of the Bodhisatta
Specific to his aching heart
As written in the Jataka
Did the appointed time depart?

But because his presence, definite
Brings some joy and allays fears
Nobody thinks to ask
Just how the elephant feels

All he could long for was freedom
By adventure on his feet
But due to poultice-potions
It seemed he ne’er be released

And though he helped all he came by
And though he strove to do right
It seemed no goodly Godly deeds
Could set his heart alight

Not that one helps others
Expecting to get one’s way
But when help is sorely needed
No one knows a word to say

But because his presence, definite
Brings some joy and allays fears
Nobody thinks to ask
Just how the elephant feels

So if in your life you find
A gentle burdened beast
Be not afraid to ask them
What brings aching to their feet

Its scary, and I know it
To see one suffer so
So be brave and cast asunder
Just ask and you will know

So heed these words, this wisdom
And in kindness lend your ears
If you see a loved one hurting
Think to ask just how they feel.

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