He could remember his mother locking his thin limbs in chains. He must have been barely a year old— when he took his first teetering steps. Actually, he doesn’t remember anything, but his mother, who must be his mother because she was chained next to him, told him this every night as a bedside story.
Hush. Once upon a time there was a little boy. His mother loved him very much and every day she would ask the Gods of the Wall to bless him. She hoped he would be different. She prayed that one day, he would stand but not turn away from the Wall. But he was no different from all the others before him. One day, he stood, and turned his back on the Wall. His mother had to chain him. It was for his own good. Those who turn away from the Wall never come back. Only their heads do. Hush. Sleep and pray to the Gods.
The Gods were tangible. Concrete. They were alive as well. You could see them moving on the walls, their dull grey outlines shifting perpetually from one end to another on a flickering orange canvas. How could you not believe something so real?
The man on the far left of his mother was an Elder. He had owl like eyes that glowed like rubies in the reflected light. He claimed to be descended from a king. But that was so long ago that everybody remembered to forget what kind of king this was. The Elder himself can’t remember. The ferrous memory was made rusty in the river of time, and nobody had the courage to chip away at the flaking surface to reveal the dull truth. All they knew was that whatever king he was, he must have been a good king, as he dedicated his life, and the lives of his family, to the worship of the Gods.
Every day, the Elder would recite the names of the Gods of the Wall as they passed by. He was one of the few people who knew all of their names.
Pot. Jar. Bust. Figure. Vase.
These names were passed from Elder to Elder, taken from the lips of the first king himself. It was during one of these chants that he decided to turn away from the Gods.
* * *
Soldiers I and II walk in tandem. Long line of soldiers slowly walking across stage. Soldier II bumps into Soldier I. Line stops. Commotion.
Soldier I: ‘Hey watch where you’re going!’
Soldier II: ‘Sorry! Any idea where we’re going?’
Soldier I: ‘No idea! I’m just following the guy in front of me!’
Soldier II: ‘Does he know where we’re going?’
Soldier I: ‘Well there must be someone at the front!’
Soldier II: ‘That’s true. These vases and statues are really heavy do you know who they’re for?’
Soldier I: ‘For the Great King! He is the most powerful king in these lands. Our king gives him these things as tribute so we’ll have peace’
Soldier II: ‘I see. What’s with the fire down there? And why are those people chained to the wall?’
Soldier I: ‘Oh those are the descendants of the last king who was defeated by the Great King. That’s their punishment. According to the guy in front of me our orders are to keep the fire burning and throw them our food scraps. If one of them manages to climb up to this walkway we’ll kill them.’
Soldier II: ‘I see. We’ve been walking for days— why haven’t we seen any returning soldiers?’
Soldier I: ‘They’re probably going back on a different route. You ask too many questions!’
* * *
The pastures had a lovely scent
The birds sang and the rabbits ran
The seasons all four came and went
oblivious to the acts of Man
Day 16 of National Poetry Month. Part I of my attempt at re-writing Plato’s cave allegory. Never tried writing like this before, so I have mixed feelings about the results. Hopefully it’ll work out! Part II will follow very soon. Please like, follow and share to support