[Poem] The Coming of the Rains, by John Eppel

Romantics like Rousseau talk nonsense
when they insist that we are born free,
though he’s right about the chains. See,
you didn’t know which side of the fence

you would end up attempting to climb.
You had no say in your spawning,
or the biology of your thing,
or your complexion. Yet time and time

again we are told of a free press,
a free state, free will, freedom of speech,
freedom to write what we like, to preach
what we like, freedom to make a mess.

“It’s often safer to be in chains,”
says Franz Kafka, “than to be free.”
But safety is not the issue, see —
it’s the rains, the coming of the rains.

(c) John Eppel, 2008

About the author

John Eppel is an award-winning poet, novelist and short story writer. His books include the novels, D.G.G. Berry’s The Great North Road ( Carrefour-Hippogriff, 1992); Hatchings (Carrefour, 1993) and The Giraffe Man (Queillerie, 1994). His latest novel, The English Teacher (extract) is due out shortly from amaBooks.


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