I was sitting there, fitting of chain tight,
staring, glaring at shadows on the wall,
Some short and some tall but all the same,
With other men and women, ten years or ten
Hundred; what does it matter when batter
Of life is to sit and stare at an otherwise
Bare cave wall with shadows that never fall.
Lo and behold! Someone told me I was free!
No more shackles tore at ankles and arms,
And there could be no harm in standing and
Looking round at where I’d been bound for
So long; where no one belongs and ne’er is
Sung sweet song; now I took careful steps,
With nothing to fret, no net set for trap.
Tis no joke; I was no longer yoked to other
Cave dwellers — brothers and sisters, and
Mothers and fathers — and so I explored,
And nothing bored in any new discovery in
Recovery of freedom I’d never known, seeing
What I’d never been shown: fires burning
On pyres for those who’d lived too long
Where they never belonged; now I could see
What better women and men we could be …
Something new, yet not new, caught my eye,
And I said ‘good-bye’ to cave and so began
Walking toward another light, much brighter,
Stalking the strange creatures who featured
Shadows on the far wall, and I heard an eerie
Call beyond the fiery pyres beckoning me
To respond to an opening that spawned
Brighter light in sight but out of the cave.
Knave I may have been, but how could I help
But crave such bright light, even in fright;
I knew no difference twixt the day and night;
I could only say a prayer and fight my way
To yawning of the cave, toward the dawning
Of new and strange radiance of luminescence,
Calling, but in such power to make me cower.
I reached the opening, stepped outside and
Quickly looked to hide, and no one in whom
To confide; blinding beauty of another world
Into which I’d just been hurled, and so good
As I stood there, bathing in the sun, which
Had only begun to shine on brand new day;
What could I do but stay; I’d found another
Way ~ inside the world, but outside the cave!
Then it struck me to tell my former company,
To pluck up the courage to go back to spread
Such grand news that all is not dead, that we
Might be fed in the land of the living under
Another brighter, mightier light that did more
Than eat corpses and beat shadows on the wall;
And so I turned back with no lack of conviction,
No friction in heart; I’d found the better part!
So did I descended again into the gloom and doom
To rouse my companions from their house of rock;
To led them to higher grounds and better sounds,
But … oh no! They shocked me as they locked
Up their hearts, bound their minds to the sound
Of my voice as if I were a raving lunatic craving
Another easy meal, if I could only peel them away
From the safety of the cave haven; craven fools!
And I could not find the words to unbind their
Souls, and free them from earthen bowl where
Surely they were dying without even trying to
Stand and walk; their talk was but a cheap heap
Of lies, but they didn’t realize the utter size
Of their fool’s pride; they would simply continue
To hide away in bay of dim-lit cave, and I … I
Only wanted to save, to save them from the cave.
ψ ψ ψ
Note: First published December 2015 on noblethemes, this poem is (obviously) based upon Plato’s Allegory of the Cave … but it does also, perhaps, contain an important picture-thought for those of the Christian faith.