11  A Poem for National Poetry Month

A friend informed me last week that April is National Poetry Month.  She plans to add a new poem to her blog every day for the next month.

That really impresses me, and I intend to read each one.

I won’t add one here each day, and I won’t even write one each day.  But I’ll add one poem to these notes so that I will have contributed something to the month’s poetic output.  Perhaps this small effort can encourage you to read other poets’ work and to write poems of your own.

For those of you who don’t like poetry:  apologies.  For those who do like poetry:  I hope you enjoy it.


Crossing the Bridge


The river has its own seasons, regardless of calendars.

From the middle of the bridge you can see them all

as they shape the water to their own ends.

I cross the bridge daily to keep an eye on the water:

someone must. . . .


In earliest spring, as the day begins to stretch its light,

the last perplexed rays cast demon eyes on the water.

High with unseasonal rain, the water, in a vast shadow,

rises, meets the eye with obsidian,

and sunset casts clouds overtop in orange and blue.

Eliot’s fog skitters over the water and its clouds,

making depth impossible.


When air and water finally warm with summer,

the surface oblates a layer of green algae.

Thin and oily, it fractals its own course,

ignoring the water beneath.

A goose, too slow in rising,

squawks as it nearly crashes into the bridge,

aborts its course, and sinks again, unhappily,

onto the ooze.


In autumn pigeons, testing their flocks,

fling themselves like fisherman’s nets

over the water that rushes to the dam beyond the bridge.

They drop, twist, rise again above the bridge,

empty of everything but resiliency.


Winter, before it can scratch the water into ice,

turns it black:  thick as coal tar,

it moves as though the bridge has squeezed it

from a large-mouthed bellows.  Oh black water–

soon months of stillness will hold it

creaking, yellow-white with streaks of false, blue youth.


The bridge is its own place, and can,

through us and its waters,

make a heaven of its hell, a hell of its heaven.