Mortality by John Eppel

Reads: 333  | Likes: 14  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Competent But Unfitted

Zimbabwean poet John Eppel's witty poem with hair standing beauty.
Photo: Jake Green


John Eppel


This is partly Hamlet’s story,
partly mine, you understand;
a skull was his memento mori,
mine a bed of river sand.

You say you saw your father’s ghost,
you jumped into your girlfriend’s grave;
of murder I have heard you boast;
for vengeance I have watched you crave.

Alas, poor Yorick, how sincere!
The rest is silence, how obtuse!
Listen, early morning’s near,
Fortinbras is on the loose.

The time is out of joint, my friend,
procrastination’s not the way.
Get on with it, announce the end;
cat will mew, dog will have his day.

We found a special place to hide,
beyond the village, hand in hand;
the stars above, the rocks beside,
our cooling bed of river sand.




Born in South Africa in 1947, John Eppel was raised in Zimbabwe, where he still lives. His first novel, D G G Berry's The Great North Road, won the M-Net prize and was listed in the Weekly Mail & Guardian as one of the best 20 South African books in English published between 1948 and 1994. His second novel, Hatchings, was shortlisted for the M-Net prize and was chosen for the series in the Times Literary Supplement of the most significant books to have come out of Africa. His other novels are The Giraffe Man, The Curse of the Ripe Tomato, The Holy Innocents, Absent: The English Teacher, Traffickings, and (awaiting publication) The Boy Who Loved Camping. White Man Walking, his collection of short stories came out from Mwanaka Media and Publishing in 2018

John Eppel's short stories and poems have appeared in many anthologies, journals and websites, including six poems in the Penguin Anthology of South African Poetry. His poem, 'Vendor and Child' was chosen by New Internationalist for their collection, Fire in the Soul, the best 100 human rights poems from across the world over the last 100 years. His poem, 'Jasmine' was chosen as 'Poem of the Week' in the Guardian.

His latest poetry is “Pressed Flowers—Poems of Resistance”(2020).


Submitted: September 10, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Competent But Unfitted. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Facebook Comments

Other Content by Competent But Unfitted