The Elephant

The grade three students were excited when they learned that their teacher is an artist. I’m happy that they think that there is something fascinating about the act of making things. I like their curiosity about art. I showed them this image.

Mueller Art Folder 005After asking the students to answer the questions, What do you see?  What do you notice?  How does the painting make you feel? they wrote  acrostic elephant poems.


Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of some of the heart-felt poetry that they shared, but they were very well done.

The Elephant

By Dan Chiasson

How to explain my heroic courtesy? I feel
          that my body was inflated by a mischievous boy.
Once I was the size of a falcon, the size of a lion,
          once I was not the elephant I find I am.
My pelt sags, and my master scolds me for a botched
          trick. I practiced it all night in my tent, so I was
somewhat sleepy. People connect me with sadness
          and, often, rationality. Randall Jarrell compared me
to Wallace Stevens, the American poet. I can see it
          in the lumbering tercets, but in my mind
I am more like Eliot, a man of Europe, a man
          of cultivation. Anyone so ceremonious suffers
breakdowns. I do not like the spectacular experiments
          with balance, the high-wire act and cones.
We elephants are images of humility, as when we
          undertake our melancholy migrations to die.
Did you know, though, that elephants were taught
          to write the Greek alphabet with their hooves?
Worn out by suffering, we lie on our great backs,
          tossing grass up to heaven—as a distraction, not a prayer.

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