Plato’s Cave, Dublin 1916-2004

by Ágnes Cserháti

for here’s the cave of dread, numbering those who

sit in chains, fire at their backs and between them

buskers from Grafton St invited to play their finest,

especially puppeteers, making shadows on the walls

before them, forms that seem tall and terrifying, as

the poets from Bewley’s look on, arguing amongst

themselves whether a guitar may be perceived as a

guitar, if they can only see the shadow of the guitar,

until at last it is suggested they turn their heads, see

for themselves the true nature of things, then make

the ascent into the sunlight, which i did, with Plato

drawing me into a piercing brightness with halos of

dust rising from the rubble, the people calling, come

into the light, come see Cú Culainn, where they will

tell you of the republic, a nation you couldn’t touch

then, but that you can now, with a spike in the ground

on O’Connell St, for all of us to see, or so it seemed

to me, but it was all too blinding, and i went back to

the cave in dread of shadows on walls and what they

should mean, what i would get wrong, wondering if

ever i should be freed from the chains again, would

i find myself in Bewley’s with the rest of them?

Ágnes Cserháti currently lives in Aurora, Ontario. Writing mainly of memory and place, her poetry has won the Hart House Poetry Prize (University of Toronto) twice and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (UK) and the Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Competition (Toronto). Her writing has been published in Hart House Review (Toronto) along with journals in the UK and Ireland. She is also the founder and editor of Rufus Books Publishing.

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April 2019

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