Stephen Dunn is an American poet. Dunn has written fifteen collections of poetry. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his 2001 collection, Different Hours and has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.. American poet
Allegory Of The Cave
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.