Why Elephants No Longer Communicate in Greek.
Why Elephants No Longer Communicate in Greek
We seem to have asked them
Elephants once shared our lives,
fought our enemies, battered down
city gates, carried great burdens,
headed the tiger hunts,
which protected us both,
howdahs teeming with spearmen and archers.
And in the reign of Titus Augustus
elephants were known to have mastered
Latin, and the brightest ones
Yet we asked them nothing,
No scholar recorded, that we know,
their preferences in reading. Did elephants favor
Aristotle over Cicero? The Stoics, or,
with their great appetites, the Epicureans?
Did they care for drama, master Euclid,
penetrate the numbers of Pythagoras?
Clearly we did not pay attention, did not
record the year in which the elephants
were no longer writing Greek, or even note it.
Much has opened to us since the plow first broke
furrows back and forth across the ground
but other doors have closed to us.
Delphi is still, the gods
no longer speak to us,
and the elephants have, inexplicably,
put their pens aside.