An 'elephant in the room' is something important and obvious that people
know well and ought to be discussed openly, but that is ignored
nevertheless, because discussing or even considering it would cause too
much embarrassment for themselves or discomfort for others. In this poem
the 'elephant' is the unbridled growth of the number of human beings on
Earth, which is one of the two main causes of the wholesale destruction
of nature and the much faster depletion of its, especially fossil,
resources. (This inconvenient truth is also a theme in
a short story in the shape of a fictional legend at TRINPsite.)
Almost ceaselessly nowadays we hear environmentalists, politicians,
journalists and others express their concern over the ongoing deterioration
and disappearance of the natural environment, while at the same time
talking light-heartedly or even admiringly about men and women who have
four, five, six, seven or even more biological children.
The ones talking in this way are not seldom those men or women themselves.
However, people who really worry about the environment think of the world's
actual or imminent human overpopulation and have a question for the person
with three children: "Where is your
(your sister or brother) with only one child?".
They have a question for the person with four children:
"Where is your one sib with no children, or where are your two
sibs with only one child?". They have more serious questions for the
persons with five or more children.
This poem invites you to no longer deny the presence of the elephant in the
room and to ask the environmentalists, the politicians, the journalists,
the others and yourself.
Of course, a human being can live with nature without destroying it,
but living with nature also means maintaining an equilibrium in which no
species disturbs the balance of nature by growing too fast too big.
This means, in turn, that human beings, too, should on average and until
their death have no more than one child, or couples no more than two
children, roughly speaking.
(Or, that your parents should have no more than approximately four
This is the elephant proper, because discussing it could or would embarrass
families with more than two biological children, and it could or would
embarrass countries or communities that do little or nothing effective in
the struggle against global human overpopulation.
Many would prefer to keep talking about cleaner cars, for instance, and
about people taking the bus or train instead, without ever mentioning the
incessantly growing number of human beings on this planet that will need or
want some form of transportation in the near future, 'clean' or not.
They would rather not talk about adequate family planning.
And yet such planning encourages and depends on the same kind of interest
in the future of ourselves, our families and our societies which makes
people save for later and provide for their own education and for the
education of their own or other people's children, so that they and these
children and these children's children will not have to face ignorance
and/or poverty forever.
Normally, a poem counting more than one stanza would have stanzas
of equal length, that is, the same number of lines for each stanza.
Or, if not the same number of lines, the lengths of the stanzas would vary
in accordance with some finite scheme.
The Elephant in the Room, however, is divided into six stanzas whose
lengths are 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 lines (each line consisting of a minimum
of seven and a maximum of ten syllables.)
The length of the stanzas therefore increases exponentially, ad infinitum
as it were.
Unfortunately, the human world population seems to be increasing on the
same kind of exponential curve.
Hence, the perhaps unbalanced form of this poem is made to resemble the
unbalanced growth of the number of human beings on this planet.
Form clearly follows content here, ugly or not.
When reading this poem aloud to an audience the first stanza should be read
very, very slowly, almost word by word.
Each following stanza should be read faster than the previous one.
In theory, the reading of the sixth and last stanza should not take much
longer than the reading of the short stanzas at the beginning.
|['THE ELEPHANT' READ BY MVVM]
9.54 MB, 4:08, v 67.40.7]