Words On A Bridge

Words On A Bridge

I remember reading about a Parisian bridge,
the Pont des Arts,
sagging beneath the weight
of padlocked pledges,
her barnacled palisades 
dipping to drink from the Seine.

This bridge here, a lesser cousin,
sun lighting on her slender nape,
is festooned with words,
the variable lines of scribes
in marker and pen.
Amidst the patchwork
of diatribe and devotion,
my eye is drawn to a post-it note,
stuck dead centre:

poetry is when 
the language of the soul
escapes into 
the common tongue


I thought it pretentious.

I moved on to read the other lines,
but my eyes kept returning 
to that fading, yellow slip,
a stanza of disparity
surrounded by stiff banalities
and wilting vulgarities.

poetry is when
the language of the soul
escapes into
the common tongue


Just who was the bard of this bridge,
paying a toll in words
of thrift?

I fished out a pen, then,
suddenly aware of an approaching woman,
plunged it back
into the sanctuary of my pocket.
But, nailing me with a half-cocked smile,
she uttered a single word
as she passed me by:
"Contribute."


I imagined her then the poetess, 
both collaborator and muse,
planting a seed and moving on,
the hem of her trench coat 
flapping around her legs
in the river wind.


©Andrew James Murray


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15 thoughts on “Words On A Bridge

  1. I love this poem. I love the woman who uttered “contribute” in passing. And, I especially love the phrase, festooned with words.

    One day I hope to have you sign your book for me.

    Like

      • You know, last year I made it a goal to learn Swedish. I made a start, but then after a couple of months the kids finished school for the summer holidays and it came to an abrupt stop. I may pick it up again-give me a couple of years, yes? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, I will do. Last September, the manuscript for the book that features here was with my editor, and I went to stay for four days in Stockholm. The premise for the collection is a journey of both location and time, so the poems are arranged to reflect a passage from the childhood and summer of the south to the mortality-facing winter of the north. There were poems written from Spain up through to Orkney, but being in Sweden (the furthest north I’d ever been) was too good an opportunity to waste and I managed to come up with something for a last minute addition-Three Poems In Stockholm. I loved the city.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds so exciting! What an extraordinary project! Stockholm is a beautiful city. I’ve spent more time in Gothenburg, the second biggest city. I lived there for a few years, but Stockholm was the destination for our summer vacation many summers of my childhood.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: A Shocking Revelation | El Space–The Blog of L. Marie

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