The Day After of the 2016 Election

Dark day in American history, this election
and its results. The old Chinese philosopher
of my imaginative self proclaims,

“String a rope bridge over a windy gorge,
and the rope unravels when enough weight
is placed on it. What is unreliable is strung

like a flimsy rope bridge over a windy gorge,
or a crooked politician elected by a fickle
populace. Woe to the populace. Woe to

those who attempt to traverse the swaying
rope bridge over the windy gorge.”
C. G. Jung might have said we have lost

touch with our anima and animus,
that we no longer have any concept of what
our mythologies may be. I read your

translation of “The First Duino Elegy.”
How many times have I read this, how
many times do I always see something

different in it? Although every time I love
the image of the angels walking among us,
not knowing which of us is dead or alive.

The violin of Rilkean sadness and
melancholy balances with the counterpoint
of the numinous, which intoxicates us,

transfixes us. We are all looking through
the opening of a dark tunnel, and there is no light
to be seen to indicate how far

its end might be. May we all gather enough
strength to kindle within ourselves to find
our way. The next four years will be tortuous,

and as arduous as they might be, may we
cultivate Bon courage, as Rodin declared to
Rilke once when he wished him goodnight.

Wally Swist’s books include Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012); The Daodejing: A New Interpretation, with David Breeden and Steven Schroeder (Lamar University Literary Press, 2015); and Invocation (Lamar University Literary Press, 2015). His forthcoming books are The Windbreak Pine (Snapshot Press, 2016), The View of the River (Kelsay Books, 2017), and Candling the Eggs (Shanti Arts, LLC, 2017).