“O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
an’ foolish notion . . .”
In 1862, Emily Dickinson wrote a three-verse 72-word poetic ‘essay’ on death, a poem which for some odd reason reminded me of an event that occurred here, in Amurkkka, exactly two-weeks-plus-three-days ago. That was, of course, the day of America’s 2016 Presidential Election in which, somehow, the candidate who lost by at least 2 million votes was actually declared the winner — an event which seems to demand a somewhat poetic summary, maybe?
I suppose most of us could write for a week, maybe a year, on the probable consequences of said electoral event, but for me (since, at my age, time is at a premium), I decided to settle instead for a joint poetic project in consort with Emily Dickinson! (don’t I wish)! Below are the three verses of Dickinson’s 1862 poetic “essay” on death, intermingled with a pair of my own sonnets [the first was prev. posted, post-convention, in August, the second is post-election new].
Miss Emily begins:
After great pain, a formal feeling comes —
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs —
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?
Candidate DONALD J. TRUMP and His Egomaniacal Persona
Democracy allows a boundless sprawl of mindless thought.
One brief glance today unmasks a nominee who deems to
Ne’er dismiss his savage spiels, hoping they’ll all soon be taught
As “brilliant” memes. Whilst he himself wears masks of learned view,
Lengthy rhetoric from this vapid candidate reveals
Dismal platitudes, each expressed as if nonsensical
Judgment of those who are more sane, of those whose soul appeals
To wisdom, not to ignorance of issues topical.
Racial bigots find curious relief in hate and fear
Until they sense themselves dismissed by grand impassioned dreams;
Misogyny as well embraces minds that aim to smear
Perspectives based on common goals of life – with bogus schemes.
Deliv’rance of this nation’s soul and heart is thus on hold
Till egomania’s greed and sloth are either bought — or sold.
The Feet, mechanical, go round —
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought —
A Wooden way
A Quartz contentment, like a stone —
A Trump-Inspired National Elegy
Greed and Sloth have once again prevailed, their
Onerous goals retained by vulgar vote;
Once again America’s soul stands bare,
Delib’rately exposed as addled moat
Beneath her people, once defined as great.
Yet there remains a choice; to quote Voltaire,
“Écrasez l’infame” (Crush the furtive ‘State’)
And grant Relief to all from hate’s despair
Made manifest by sophistic fear. Still,
Exercise of faux imperiousness
Results in cultural demise of will
In all but those possessed by mindlessness —
Calumny (as Trump, our President-Elect)
Assigns ALL Truth — to PERFIDY-Select.
This is the Hour of Lead —
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow —
First — Chill — then Stupor — then the letting go —
So now, we as a nation are forced to contend with white nationalism, with neo-Nazis and racism at every level, with misogyny, xenophobia, immigration, immigrant deportation, registries, internment camps(?); also destruction and/or sale of Public Lands for either fossil fuel mining/drilling/fracking or for private profit, for development; also with the “Chinese Hoax” of climate change and the global destruction therein implied; also with the final transfer of all remaining American monetary “wealth” to the already wealthy elites; plus the privatization of Public Education . . . plus maybe a war or two or three, just because this here’s Amurkkka and we really like to do that, to kick ass as necessary. . . etc., etc., etc.
Whereto from here? How much further is it to the bottom of the pond? Is there still a musterable opposition to national demise available out there? Somewhere?
“Those who can make you believe absurdities
can make you commit atrocities.”
Dare we hope we’re not there . . . yet?