Described by Plato, now it’s much the same,
this underworld we’re comfortable in.
Our fetters fit us like a second skin.
Enchanted by the caperings onscreen
and never by the hidden source of light,
the fire behind us or the naked sun,
we know each shadow perfectly by name.
Our children don’t remember other ways.
We think we do; it’s only been a year.
We think so, but the past’s abstract and far,
ungraspable and tiny as a star
glimpsed from a distance of unnumbered days.
Up on the surface, dazzled by the glare,
squinting, stumbling, only gradually
able to make out moonlight, water, tree,
and gulping in the strong and strange fresh air,
how could some poor prisoners not rebel
if forced to leave their subterranean womb?
Would most not scuttle back to their dark room,
resist the power dragging them uphill?
Will we resurface – some of us, few, all?
The second spring approaches. Time will tell.
Also by Rachel Hadas (see all)
- Voyage - March 2, 2023
- Though Much Is Taken, Much Abides:Fifteen Years of Literature & Medicine - May 22, 2022
- The Labyrinth, the Septic Tank - October 30, 2021