During the Circular Futures program run by Ashoka, we were truly blessed with some beautiful pieces of art that captured our learnings as weavers and entrepreneurs learning more about circular economy. Today we reflect on the poem of Ike Krijnen, who captured the very first module of the program in words.
Imagine the economy as an elephant.
With all its different body parts
and no way of telling where it ends,
or where the animal starts.
The ears, the belly,
the trunk, the hooves,
the way it develops,
the way it moves
all in circular, natural motion,
without political or creative devotion.
Simply by being
and staying a natural system –
if an elephant was manmade,
that man, I must've missed him.
Yet some men and women, today,
do care and get concerned;
wish that the life the elephant gets
is the life that it deserves;
that the life that is created around him
is the life we saw when we first found him.
In a way,
that might be where the elephant began,
although we recognize its existence
from before there was man.
And before we were there
there was a natural way,
with natural sunlight,
made of natural days.
a natural grey –
that beautiful color
the elephant makes.
Imagine the economy as an elephant
grey – not black or white,
nothing in the world ever is,
not even day and night.
A 'white elephant' is a massively wasteful
construction project, the dictionary says.
A pink one a form of delusion,
like an elephant with a fez.
This all seems very clear:
an elephant is grey and round,
if a system of color and shapes
is the system to which we are bound.
No extremes in color,
no beginning or end in shape,
an elephant that no-one sees,
but from which no-one can escape.
The system, then,
the way we see,
is ways to makes sense
of the elephant that be.
Always changing, rapidly,
is what I see in the leaders you are,
fast to switch chairs
to block the king from afar.
To block an end to the start
to this thing we started imagining:
the economy as an elephant
a grey, perfect circle – an endless being.
And the way we see, feed, live with
the animal is our leadership decree:
think outside the box, you said,
connect, build communities
reach out to others,
make a circle together,
a spiral into love –
living on a boat, called Louisa
after all of the above.
include the less developed
change our mindset, the seeing system
in which the elephant is enveloped
A desire to fail and to learn from this failure,
regulatory restrictions – regulations
to widen our views so that no-one be surprised
if the elephant, on the eight 'o' clock news
may appear as a unicorn!
That no-one minds
if a king become chair,
because we, the changemakers,
like everyone else aware.
The elephant was fully circular
long before we were there;
it was a unicorn, an economy –
a sustainable one,
and will be,
That the mindset, not the elephant
is what essentially needs to be rearranged
is what your leadership and urge to learn
has brought about today –
the way we see,
Thank you for making me see
the elephant in the room;
although a test it is
to describe exactly what it is I see...
What are your thoughts? For those who were at the first module- does this poem capture the learnings well?
For those that weren't there, what questions does it elicit?