Chained until thirty three,
I was a jailbird of the cave.
Where madness and echoes
embraced the ruling darkness.
My dead eyes locked only
onto the lifeless wall ahead,
where deceiving shadows
soon became my false reality.
The seething fire behind me
knew nothing of friendship.
Nor I, until I scurried away
by posting words of protest
to each reviled, hated brick
of that shadowy ivory tower.
The one that separated me
from sun, moon and stars.
At first, blinded by the light,
I was stunned by existence
as I watched families smile,
going about their creations.
Children laughing liberally,
friends talking tête-à-tête.
Everything I once held real
was now forever departed.
Bright, whole-hearted days
where those maiden dawns
streamed down sunlit hours
upon my newly sighted eyes.
Eyes that wept remembrance
for my old abandoned cave.
Yet, no longer bathed in misery,
the light within began to shine.
Cultured, I returned to the cave
and found more family madness
that spat and hurled its bricks.
So I claimed my spiritual rights
as I shared tribal truths of love
and friendships found outside.
But still they believed in only
shadows dancing before them.
“There is life,” I said, “nay, love
outside this most dark cave.”
“No!” They shook their heads,
“We have not heard such things,
such things as love do not exist.
We cannot leave the welfare
of the wall, our family inside,
nor the darkness that speaks.”
“Wall and world” I enlighten,
“are two very different places.
Stand, look up, see the light!”
I place one foot in each world.
“Stand, hear the Goddess Isis
laughing in her indigo jeans.
She who waits outside the cave,
her headdress a royal throne.”
“It is she,” I say, “who speaks
of the task of the enlightened.
Their task is not only to ascend,
but also they must descend
and return, she counsels me.
To bring truth, light and wisdom,
even under prospect of death
and of their own destruction.”
Love arrives in the cave then,
as slowly the captive’s heads
turn away from the barricade,
away from the dead shadows.
They watch as I engrave my
poems willingly, liberally, over
the old childhood masterpiece.
And the wall becomes art again.
In restless, restricting chains
I watch a cave dweller stand.
She who yearns liberation,
she who yearns friendship.
I watch her read etched poems
as I walk up towards the light.
Free at last and at liberty to feast
alfresco at the banquet of love.
Inspired by ‘Allegory of the Cave’ by Plato
Copyright © Deborah Gregory 2015
Image Credit: Nicolas Ilinski