The Blind Men and the Elephant

Source: wikimedia commons

A poem written by spookily accurate futurist John Godfrey Saxe in 1872 about Scrum and Agile software development. Thanks to the awesome cvdanes for putting me onto it.

The Blind Men and the Elephant

It was six men of Indostan To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant (Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant, And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side, At once began to bawl:
“God bless me!—but the Elephant Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk, Cried: “Ho!—what have we here
so very round and smooth and sharp? To me ‘t is mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal, And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands, Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out his eager hand, And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“‘T is clear enough the Elephant Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, And all were in the wrong!


So, oft in theologic wars The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant Not one of them has seen!

Just to clarify, I consider myself amongst the disputants!

  1. cvdanes said:

    Nice! Now, if we could just get them to share notes…

    • …and perhaps develop a completely new branch of mathematics to explain the results.
      Where’s bug Einstein when you need him? 🙂

      • cvdanes said:


  2. Just to let you know I’ve nominated you for a blogger award (The Liebster Award) – I’m pretty new to this blogging thing but apparently this is something that happens and I am supposed to pass it on. Full details here – – keep up the good work on the blog!

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