TJ (17th June 1958 / England)

An Elephant For Aristotle

Whatever possessed him? –

King of the greater half of the Earth in his mid twenties,
Founding force behind wonders of the world:
The Library at Alexandria
And the Pharos,
Now both lost to antiquity
And almost consigned to the realm of mythology
But for intriguing slivers of surviving history.

Whatever possessed him? –

Of all the riches of countless conquered nations
On three continents,
Of all the jewels and marvels of life and learning,
Of all this,
What does he see fit to send to his old friend and teacher,
To Aristotle...?

An elephant.
An elephant!

Not the easiest of parcels to freight, I'll warrant,
But why on earth [or on Alexander's half of it] an elephant?
I don't suppose it would have fit in the schoolroom.
Was it a sort of an outsize playground prank:
A power-play from the student-turned-master –
A sort of apple-for-the-teacher
Any ruler of the known world might send? ...
... Or perhaps a bit of 'payback'
For his having published the keys to the learning 'kingdom'
Which his prodigy feared might inspire threat and competition?

Fine present or fit of pique....?
Either way, I hope he also shipped a shovel.

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Comments (3)

...perhaps Alexander sent the elephant under the influence of unwatered wine...yes... that's right... he was trunk and disorderly! Ahem...oh well... anyway, this is another original subject for a poem and I must admit, it is a piece of history that I have never come across before. As such, I found it fascinating. Perhaps the elephant was a birthday present? How better to get the message across that you think someone is getting 'long in the tooth'!
I wonder what triggered this poem? A poem in which you investigate your subject like a poetic forensic scientist and in the process, inspire the reader to become totally entranced. This is a highly imaginative poem, written with skill and wit. As for the subject - an elephant for Aristotle - now I'd like to see that. Love, Allie ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
I guess the shovel is for the elepahnts stable? ........what a last