Before we move on to the next bridge poem, here is a question to ask you readers: Who was your favorite poet when you grew up and what poems was he/she famous for? I’m completely sure you grew up listening to favorite poems by the likes of Gwendolyn Brooks, Nathaniel Hawthorn, Robert Frost and even Norman Brydon and having a few stuck in your heads thanks to your English teacher reciting them to you day in and day out. Each country has it own set of favorite poets; German had Friedrich Schiller and Wolfgang Goethe, England had Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson. In the United States, we have the likes of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose poem will be read in a short bit. Longfellow (1807-1882) is one of the most popular American poets whose works we still read today. He was famous for writing Paul Revere’s Ride (and his famous war cry “The British are coming!- the drumming of the War for Independence in Colonial America), Evangeline and the Songs of Hiawatha. He was one of the five fireside poets, popular 19th century poets whose general adherence to poetic convention consisted of “….standard forms, regular meter, and rhymed stanzas and the poems were made suitable for memorization and recitation in school and also at home, where it was a source of entertainment for families gathered around the fire.” This poem, entitled “The Bridge” was one of the poems that Longfellow wrote during his lifetime, even though it was one of the less popular ones. As you will read in this poem, it takes place at night, when all is quiet in the city except for the forces of nature that had been quelled by people and traffic during the day but now has a chance to show its true colors at night, making the bridge and the surroundings more appealing to people willing to risk darkness just for some air and some time to relax and reflect on what happened earlier in the day and what is yet to come.
If you have an opportunity to do so and if you find one that is lit at night, go to a bridge, walk toward the center and then stop. Listen to nature and its calling and think about it. Gather some impressions and write it down on paper. Who know? Perhaps you can turn your impressions into a work of art like you will see from Longfellow. Enjoy the poem.