Poetry ~ “Elephants Are Different to Different People” by Carl Sandburg


Wilson and Pilcer and Snack stood before the zoo elephant.
Wilson said, “What is its name? Is it from Asia or Africa? Who feeds it? Is it a he or a she? How old is it? Do they have twins? How much does it cost to feed? How much does it weigh? If it dies how much will another one cost? If it dies what will they use the bones, the fat, and the hide for? What use is it besides to look at.”

Pilcer didn’t have any questions; he was murmuring to himself, “It’s a house by itself, walls and windows, the ears came from tall cornfields, by God; the architect of those legs was a workman, by God; he stands like a bridge out across deep water; the face is sad and the eyes are kind; I know elephants are good to babies.”

Snack looked up and down and at last said to himself, “He’s a tough son-of-a-gun outside and I’ll bet he’s got a strong heart, I’ll bet he’s strong as a copper-riveted boiler inside.”

They didn’t put up any arguments.
They didn’t throw anything in each other’s faces.
Three men saw the elephant three ways.
And let it go at that.
They didn’t spoil a sunny Sunday afternoon;
“Sunday comes only once a week,” they told each other.

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