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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
"E. Branch" <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 1 Oct 2004 09:34:19 -0400
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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A Providence, Rhode Island philosopher whom I know, a long-time admirer of
Mark Twain, urges me to submit his poem to the Forum.  It features an
appearance of Huck Finn in good company.  The poem's author is the founder
of SOB (Stamp Out Bushism).  I am a member.  Here is the poem:

                 The Cave

I shuck a large Vidalia onion
Destined for dicing in my tuna salad
Globular, naked, cleanly aromatic
Unmistakably transparent for what it is.

I find a bird's nest wind-blown to earth
Filament-woven, a deep circular haven
Two small white eggs tucked warmly within.
Perfect, I think:
Nature's design, creation, and disposal.

Having disentangled its roots
I plant a dwarf apple tree
The baby now stands alone before me
Its graft swells above-ground in sun-lit promise:
Man's wisdom for shaping the good life on earth
Had made me midwife to a natural prodigy.

I read the Cave scene in Plato's Republlic
I see humans massed in underground gloom
Staring at shadows on bleak barren walls--
That somber reality their lot to know
While unseen above, life's Ideal Forms shine:
Plato's lasting gift in its loftiest garb.

I'm living still with the drifter Huck Finn
Born in a world divided and hate-filled
He soaks up his mentors' fear-stained morality
But while adrift on the god-like Mississippi
In loving friendship and self-abnegation
His heart speaks its truth, and acting upon it
He lives as a hero in the Greek's ideal realm.

Man tries to glimpse the ideal in the real
The way things might be, as in Plato's ideal
Or in nature's plan
But shadows still rule within mankind's cave.

Today we watch the shadows of shadows
We gaze transfixed at TV's man-made shades
We learn what is real from reality shows
We Rush to judgment in talk radio
We are serfs to the lords of free enterprise,
Convincing us we want whatever they pitch
As they swear their "passion" to meet all our needs.

Today we are told that violence and war
Will bring peace and freedom everywhere.
As thousands are slaughtered we clap our hands
We honor our own battlefield heroes
While closeted in their dark and secret cave
Our leaders contrive, grant favors, and deceive.