Peter Bolton

(2nd April 1942 / Brecon)

The Bridge


.... The hills ended, but before her rolled more of the same,
Rearing up in the distance into towering spires of snow and ice,
Stretching as far as her mind could wander.
In between was the gate,
And the gate opened onto the bridge.
On both sides the oceans reached out,
Turbulent and tempestuous to the utter bounds of reason.
Joining them was the stream,
Whose currents moved though it was still and silent.
The gate was the only passage,
The gate and the bridge.

Under its single arch the limpid water flowed,
Both to the left and to the right,
In mobile stasis,
Undisturbed by the passions of the mighty seas, which it connected.
Reflected in this mirror, the willows hung.
There was silence and no bird sang.
She swung the gate and its hinge was oiled.
The air was as quiet as a wren’s breath.
Below her now, the river ran.
It ran and ran to where it stood and she stood there and gazed into its depths.
Looking up she saw that both before and after were the same,
The gate well sprung, the hills devoid of life.
What can she seek?
Loosening her hair, she leaned over the parapet
And let it hang down to touch the water’s surface.

She asks.
Should I go forward to death, or back, or follow?
I see the rings where my hair touches the water.
They flow outwards as silent as the waves of night.
They open up the way, so that I may fall forever into my own eternity.
There is nobody but me.
Nobody but me.
I was made alone.

Before she falls, she pleads.
Will you be?
Can you be?
You think it is sad that all will end.
It is not what is that is sad, or what will be.
The sadness lies in what was not, is not, and cannot be.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Esme has discovered that Alice's death has been concealed from her. This is too much and she resolves that everything must now end.

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