Loving ode to Bridge Poets: Reflections

Red Bridge spanning the Yellow River in Allamakee County, Iowa. Photo taken in August 2011

After a brief break in light of the recent events occurring in the United States with a pair of bridge collapses, the next poem to be presented is one written by Norman F. Brydon, entitled Reflections.  Little was written about the author except for the fact that he spent most of his 78 years of life before dying in 1982. Brydon was most famous for his book, “The Pasaic River: Past, Present, Future,” which was written in 1974. He wrote about James Caldwell two years later, which you can view the script here. And lastly, he was one of the very first authors who wrote about New Jersey’s covered bridges in 1971, which has long since been out of print, but it deals with how these bridges were popular before the age of Industrialization.

Reflections, written in 1969,  talks about a bridge that has been crossed for many years but still carries a lot of memories of the people that crossed it, including those who were there to reflect on their lives and how they could have done something different, but in all reality, it was too late. The poem brought some memories back to the times I spent reflecting on my life on one of these bridges, like this one in Allamakee County, Iowa, which has been sitting there abandoned for years and is now owned by nature. There were times I would visit one of these bridges and sit there for hours, looking at the things that I did and finding ways to turn all the wrongs committed into right ones. But this was as a teenager growing up, but many of us still have a chance to reflect about themselves as they stare down at the mirror-reflection of the river from the old bridge, wondering, as adults, whether we made the right decisions or whether they can be changed before it’s too late.

Here’s the poem in its entirety:

Abandoned above the coursing stream

Whose currents race so heedless by

Between high banks where granite boulders gleam

Recalling the flowing years that fly

The quickly fading then, the urgent now

A moment briefly noted, long forgot

A corridor of memories that you endow

In muted shapes, where arching timbers rot

Half hidden and with shaded trusses blurred.

Footsteps muffled to my waiting ears

By dust laid deep on oaken planks now stirred

To echo thoughts long buried with the years.

Within your shadows sparked by errant beams

I walk again to find abandoned dreams.

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