Oh when we were free
to let our thoughts roam
– throw certainty to sea
and plant musings in the mind’s loam.
Oh when we had liberty,
when we had not knotted tongues
to declare the lies of authority
that beat the air from our tired lungs.
Oh when we shunned banality,
when our brains were more than cells,
holding the prisoner of rationality
in nine circles of Dante’s Hell.
Oh, when fetters of fire failed to bind
– the heretic’s truth, under boot and fist.
When the marching orders from the mind
blasphemed bravely: Resist.
Yet unto liberation, powerless we are not,
for ours are first the fetters
and ours are first the knots.
Ours is first the apathy
that our certainty begot.
So victorious must we emerge from this internal war,
before our minds are truly free to wander once more.
Rebellion is a fire, sparked by the friction between a freedom which dwells deep within us, and a world which abhors it. This poem is an ode to that internal freedom – and a recognition of our power to suffocate it for fear of burning our hands. It is a song of longing, superimposed upon the passage of time, expressed in the language of nostalgia. Nostalgia for a past that perhaps never did exist, but nostalgia nonetheless. It is that internal freedom’s cry of loss, against a world in which conformist society and zealous authorities, religious or otherwise, deem it criminal to think for yourself. In the final stanzas, the poem morphs into a plea to abandon dogma, and embrace the liberating uncertainties of our existence. It becomes an appeal to seize the future and fashion it in the likeness of this idealized past – a past in which we were free. Free to champion heresies. Free to flirt with blasphemy. Free to fearlessly tell our truth.