Suzette Richards

(Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA)

In Silence Lays The Answer


If we should view life as a shadow on
a wall of the cave we might have hidden
ourselves in and with no light from sun,
then woe betide the person who’s bidden
us; who tries to drag us into the light
of knowledge and thereby, enlightenment:
And trying to shape our secular plight,
assuming it is for our betterment.
The answer is not written in hard stone,
or blowing in the wind across the planes.
Salvation, if we could our senses hone –
In silence lays the answer and our gains.
Our ignorance is a cocoon of charm,
protecting us from a perceived harm

Submitted: Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Edited: Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

PHILOSOPHY AND POETRY
The earlier philosophers had all written their scientific and other theses in the form of poems, eg the following is an extract from a poem by Pindar (518 – 438 BCE) :

Creatures of a day! What is a man?
What is he not? A dream of a shadow
Is our mortal being. But when there comes to men
A gleam of splendour given of Heaven,
Then rests on them a light of glory
And blessed are their days.

The Allegory of the Cave, also entitled Analogy of the Cave, Plato's Cave or Parable of the Cave is presented by the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato in the Republic to compare '...the effect of education (pa? de? a) and the lack of it on our nature'. It is written as a dialogue between Plato's brother Glaucon and his mentor Socrates, narrated by the latter. The Allegory of the Cave is presented after the Analogy of the Sun and the Analogy of the Divided Line. All three are characterized in relation to dialectic at the end of books VII and VIII.

Plato has Socrates describe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to designate names to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.”? William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

In my poem, I explore our blinkered 'reality':

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