—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Why is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
the universal topic of our college?
What makes it potent: what can we hope to save
in you, dear student—in anyone—more than knowledge?
What raw or refined aspiration, breathing higher
and always harder, thinning as does the air,
turns lung and labor partners in spiraling fire?
Offered asphyxia, who’d not prefer our lair,
trammeled and benchbound to our flamelit cave-life?
What chains you, young one? Why can’t I lead you out
of your sweet cave of shadows, illusions, revenants?
Oh, I could become all light, a brilliant knife
to wound you, stuck in your heart to kill your doubt.
But poets are caves, pitch-black inside, dankly resonant.
And you, who would bring Eurydice back to sharp air:
Be sure you are not the one constrictive thing,
a box seducing a box up from its lair
to realms of writhing shapes lit dismally, flickering…