The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Friday


Allegory Of The Cave
By Stephen Dunn


He climbed toward the blinding light
and when his eyes adjusted
he looked down and could see

his fellow prisoners captivated
by shadows; everything he had believed
was false. And he was suddenly

in the 20th century, in the sunlight
and violence of history, encumbered
by knowledge. Only a hero

would dare return with the truth.
So from the cave's upper reaches,
removed from harm, he called out

the disturbing news.
What lovely echoes, the prisoners said,
what a fine musical place to live.

He spelled it out, then, in clear prose
on paper scraps, which he floated down.
But in the semi-dark they read his words

with the indulgence of those who seldom read:
It's about my father's death, one of them said.
No, said the others, it's a joke.

By this time he no longer was sure
of what he'd seen. Wasn't sunlight a shadow too?
Wasn't there always a source

behind a source? He just stood there,
confused, a man who had moved
to larger errors, without a prayer.

--------

Am not having a good month when it comes to buying things...this morning I discovered that the polarizing filter I had bought for my Nikon lens, which I told the guy I thought needed to be 58mm but let him convince me needed to be 52mm, was in fact too small and I had to take it back and exchange it. So I did, and discovered that Ritz was having a buy two, get one free sale on filters, so I got the Sigma lens I've been coveting in lieu of the Nikon which is just too expensive for me to justify (not to mention the fact that I can't get one for less than $1000 before we go to England next spring), and filters for that. And then I came home and discovered that instead of giving me a rebate receipt, I had apparently been charged again for the lens I was trying to return before buying all the other stuff!

Am not having a good month in various other ways either, but I got a bunch of medical tests back that took a huge load off my mind, at least. And since health issues are really the ONLY important issues in many cases, since everything but bodily damage can often be worked out one way or another, this is no minor thing. I didn't even realize how screamingly stressed out I was until a little earlier when older son hit younger son and smashed his braces into his lip and left him crying with his mouth bleeding, and I totally lost it and tore him a new one and ended up upsetting younger son (who HATES it when I get angry) as much as older son, so for a brief period neither child was talking to me...older son let me off the hook first, which he really should not have as I was much harder on him than necessary, while younger son stormed off to bed without speaking to anyone and then called me in and discussed names for stuffed penguins with me which is what he does when he is in need of consolation. Am sucky parent. Actually I just suck in general. I should stop talking about myself.


One of the Christmas flower displays at the National Gallery of Art last weekend. I have a love-hate relationship with lilies because they give me splitting headaches but they're so beautiful. My wedding bouquet was almost entirely roses because that's one of the few floral scents that never bothers me, though I don't like it in perfumes and stuff.


So the news is reporting that Cal Ripken may be the next owner of the Baltimore Orioles, which would please me, and apaulled tells me that Xanadu is going to be a Broadway musical, which would please me even more even though it is a very cracked idea and I can't imagine who's going to play the Gene Kelly role, let alone the Olivia Newton-John role. And will they incorporate the ELO songs into the action? ("Suddenly came the dawn from the night/Suddenly I was born into light...") I only have that soundtrack on vinyl; I must remember to remedy that one of these days. And in sad news, Bob Lucid, who was an English professor at the University of Pennsylvania for many years and who ran the college house where I lived my freshman year, has died. And Dave Rossi has a proposal for a new animated Star Trek series that looks and sounds so painfully awful that I was doing my best not to think about it even as I was reporting on it!
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