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.