“Jetzt komme, Feuer! Begierig sind wir,
Zu schauen den Tag,
Und wenn die Prüfung
Ist durch die Knie gegangen,
Mag einer spüren das Waldgeschrei.” -Friedrich Hölderlin, “Der Ister”
Almost two thousand years are to be retrospectively traversed from the death of Hitler to the object of my next inquiry. This is an ode to the Rhein river, the fosterer of an independent Germany, and a blessing, and a curse. In 55 B.C., Gaius Julius Caesar built a bridge over the Rhein. The river was dark, wild, and churned with the same malevolence which the peoples of the sunnier Mediterranean perhaps perceived in the spectral shapes flitting amongst the German pines.