To Think of Elephants (Written September 12, 2013)
I hope to think of elephants
Each night before I sleep,
This mighty gift, this wondrous gift,
I’d suffer much to keep.
How many men have fought for it?
Have given up their lives?
This gift for which the wise man seeks,
For which the great man strives.
It is the solace in the storm,
The hope when all it lost,
The friend who helps when none else can,
No matter what the cost.
So when the world comes crashing down,
When there’s naught left but to weep,
I’ll try to think of elephants
Each night before I sleep.
So, you are all probably very confused right now. Why am I talking about elephants? And what on earth is this poem even about? Well, it makes sense, I swear, just let me explain.
The Chinese phrase for imagination is “想象.” Literally, 想 means “to think” and 象 means “elephant”. The direct translation is “To Think of Elephants.”
So, ha! It does make sense. Imagination is sanity when everything else is insane. When everything is crashing down around you, your imagination can make everything right again. Or, close enough, anyway. Imagination doesn’t need to care about what reality throws at you. It is so amazing because it doesn’t need to. It can just ignore all that and think of better things from elsewhere. Like, apparently, elephants.
Use your imagination. It will save you from all manner of miseries. It is a gift. It is a treasure. Never forget that. Use that. And, before you go to bed each night, make sure you think of elephants.
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