Socrates in Camouflage

Jane Yolen


“. . .what keeps us from hearing a truth that it must come

to us camouflaged?” Christopher B. Nelson, President St John’s College


Socrates takes his camouflage coat

out of the virtual closet, green and black

like a summer’s forest.

He puts on matching pants, hat

face mask, as if chlorophyll

is his natural element.

Out he goes to deliver what truths

the public needs, disguised

like a hunter after deer.

He drops the truths onto doorstoops,

mailboxes;  love letters shoved

between window and sill.

Ever since then, the noble lie

has needed its camouflaged deliverer,

who never questions whether

We the People have the rigor

or the knowledge to see it

unmasked, undisguised, real.


Jane Yolen’s 380th published book is about to come out. She sends out poems to journals on a regular basis and has quite a few in sf/fantasy magazines as well. She is a Grand Master of SFPA (Science Fiction/Fantasy Poets of America), as well as a Grandmaster of SFWA and World Fantasy Assn. She has won the Nebula two times, Mythopoeic Award three times, and been nominated (but never won) for the Hugo several times. Six colleges & universities have given her honorary doctorates for her body of work.