'The Fence' by Lenrie Peters

The Fence is an African poem that meditates on the internal moral conflict human beings are burdened with when faced with making a decisive choice between what is good and what is bad

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There where the dim past and future mingletheir nebulous hopes and aspirationsthere I lie.There where truth and untruth strugglein endless and bloody combat, there I lie.There where time moves forwards and backwardswith not one moment’s pause for sighing, there I lie.There where the body ages relentlesslyand only the feeble mind can wander backthere I lie in open-souled amazementThere where all the opposites arriveto plague the inner senses, but do not fuse, I hold my head; and then contriveto stop the constant motion.my head goes round and round, but I have not been drinking; I feel the buoyant waves; I staggerIt seems the world has changed her garment.but it is I who have not crossed the fence, So there I lie.There where the need for goodand “the doing good” conflict, there I lie.

The Fence is an African poem that meditates on the internal moral conflict human beings are burdened with when faced with making a decisive choice between what is good and what is bad. For someone to sit on the fence at that crucial stage, it implies one is avoiding taking sides or making a specific decision.

This is Lenrie Peters’ central preoccupation. The poet is deeply troubled with the indecisive and neutral stance of major stakeholders in the society in times of making the right decisions that would better the lots of the helpless masses. Lenrie Peters feels it is necessary for one to stay on a side in times of struggle.

We should not maintain a posture of being neither here or there. One should not sit on the fence when policies are being made. Maintaining a neutral pose in critical times can only encourage more evil to be perpetrated

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