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Treasure, A Poem Per Brenda Arledge's Prompt

Andrea Lawrence has a master's in creative writing. She studied fiction, poetry, playwriting, and screenwriting.

A rocky, dark, and challenging cave.

A rocky, dark, and challenging cave.

Inspiration for Poem

I was feeling little to no motivation one morning. My spirit was low as I thought about the pandemic and the waves of dishevelment. I'm hopeful for a recovery period after we conquer the virus or learn how to live with it. It's taking so long to make it through all the swamps and marshes of the saga. It's harder than ever to stay committed to fostering kindness and grace.

I found the poetry prompt for the word "treasure" and decided it would be a good challenge to get me out of my stupor.

It's a messy poem that mixes together Greek mythology, Plato's Cave, Pythagoras, and Dante's Divine Comedy. And maybe Taylor Swift.

Does the poem have too much in it? Probably. But it's intended to be an adventure of sorts.

Treasure Paradiso

I.

Lightning bugs, foaming at the mouth,

crystalline saturation, midnight ecstasy.

A universe, breaking down

into sand and strand

into oil and spoil.

The last jewels

beckoning down,

echoing down

the descent into dreamland,

resting at the bottom

of the hourglass.

II.

The howling captivates with red and blue,

the scintillating in green and yellow,

diamonds and diamonds and diamonds

for her asymmetrical eyes,

sapphires in orchid, magenta,

for lips, for his soft lips

and scarlet rubies for ears,

four ears shared together,

four quadrants bending

in a kiss, a kiss in a cave,

at the end of time.

III.

A kaleidoscope of gems hidden

in the hollow.

A kaleidoscope of swinging vines

in the hollow,

to the hollow we'll all return,

melded together

as atoms shuffle and slide.

Kisses traded for diamonds,

kisses traded for sapphires,

and rubies spread across

the torn asunder sky, winnowing

with bolts of lightning, thunder,

dark clouds

the sky in two:

the big rip of the cosmos

everything from quasar to quasar

sifted through a tortoiseshell.

IV.

Stars break down

and decrescendo into gems

into hidden treasures

all packed into the lungs.

The cry thrashing up

the esophagus,

the cry compressed

into a mortal man,

an Athenian, the brightest

pupil of Socrates,

and the teacher, the sage

of Aristotle. The mage

behind Western traditions,

our Plato and his wandering

of his maddening cave.

V.

A cave cut off by a boulder,

three tiers it delights

with different and betwixting knowledge:

(1) natural science; the soul's ascent to God,

(2) mathematics and deductive reasoning; a sphere of heaven,

(3) the theory of forms; the Empyrean, the abode of the Divine.

Plato wandering as the hermit,

the cloaked elder, wandering

as he perfects his philosophies.

Wandering and carrying his lantern,

hoping to disperse the shadows.

He wonders where all the people

have gone, what happened

to their noises, what happened

to their incessant rumblings.

VI.

Plato, father of time,

he flirts with disheveled words,

poking language with a stick:

the effect of education

and the lack of it in our nature

an allegory, the cave, presented

after the harrowing

of the analogy of the sun

and

the analogy of the divided line.

VII.

Socrates calls the void

a group of people;

they're chained

to a wall

all their lives, they

have nothing

except facing

a blank, unchanging wall.

A blank, untouched canvas.

A blank, unwritten space.

VIII.

The shadows, the prisoners' reality;

the shadows, the prisoners' guests.

Aim past it! Aim past the shadows

as they try to hold you back

with heavy, Damascus steel.

Force yourself to see her, see

Aphrodite hiding among the treasures,

see him, Adonis glittering

like the king's vaulted gold, see

Pythagoras dancing

with his bejeweled undines.

IX.

You must desire to leave the prison,

desire to play past the freezeframe,

cut your way out,

step into the sunlight,

banish the shadows,

and reject the Idols of the Cave, reject

the Idols of the Cave.

Let spark, birth, untether,

the cave, the cave, a womb.

Let spark again, let the stars

reign in the sky, let

the stars shake, plasma

treasures in clandestine alchemy

hanging in their white-hot glory.

X.

Let the stars that have had enough,

let them resign, let them

retire as jewels and minerals

to sink back into the earth

to be found by bearded gnomes.

Let the little men ponder something more:

Come up gnomes and dwarves

of the underworld;

dine upstairs

with the salamanders and sylphs.

There is more above

the mantle and core.

© 2022 Andrea Lawrence

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