Ever since high school, Jungian psychology has fascinated me, especially the celebration of the shadow.
It’s the kind of unconscious “dark side” of our personality encompassing all the primitive, negative, social, or religiously shunned emotions and impulses. According to an article I read while studying psychology, “Whatever we deem evil, inferior, or unacceptable and deny in ourselves becomes part of the shadow.”
This poem came out of my own dance with this dark passenger—and my journey of both being enticed by it and learning to embrace it. I don’t think we can truly love ourselves if there is an orphaned part of us floating beneath consciousness, dragging us unknowingly through the mud.
We cannot fully bloom until we make some of those shady, messy pilgrimages. My hope is that the sentiment of this piece will encourage an endless and unceasing mining of our own shadows and suffering, eventually inviting compassion and love into the darkest of caves.
To my Lost Lover:
On a flimsy, capricious rope bridge
over a vast countryside,
I cautiously traipsed—
board by broken board.
Each minor shift threatened its existence,
each season made its mortality known.
What once carried the contents of my soul,
now dares to hang my feeble frame—
such accompanies a new paradigm.
Like embers of a dying fire,
I still think of you.
Your sentiment embodies
my shadow side—
of all that I’m capable.
Yet, somehow, this feels familiar.
Your essence evokes
a hint of history—
our infinite cosmic dance to the
tune of my wicked lies.
What we once clung to,
sang to in quiet desperation—
is like a misty memory of fossilizing rain,
the sky bloodied by the setting sun.
In some ways, we were
propane on a raging fire.
In others, we were
reminders of entanglement,
love beyond this skin.
Thick cloaks we wore to conceal
their burden too heavy
now for me to carry.
And as the music
starts to fade,
the rhythm melts
into our bones.
One last dance,
thirsty red lips.
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Editor: Jen Schwartz
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina