The Iron Bridge Poem by Billy Collins

The Iron Bridge

Rating: 4.1


I am standing on a disused iron bridge
that was erected in 1902,
according to the iron plaque bolted into a beam,
the year my mother turned one.
Imagine- a mother in her infancy,
and she was a Canadian infant at that,
one of the great infants of the province of Ontario.

But here I am leaning on the rusted railing
looking at the water below,
which is flat and reflective this morning,
sky-blue and streaked with high clouds,
and the more I look at the water,
which is like a talking picture,
the more I think of 1902
when workmen in shirts and caps
riveted this iron bridge together
across a thin channel joining two lakes
where wildflowers blow along the shore now
and pairs of swans float in the leafy coves.

1902- my mother was so tiny
she could have fit into one of those oval
baskets for holding apples,
which her mother could have lined with a soft cloth
and placed on the kitchen table
so she could keep an eye on infant Katherine
while she scrubbed potatoes or shelled a bag of peas,

the way I am keeping an eye on that cormorant
who just broke the glassy surface
and is moving away from me and the iron bridge,
swiveling his curious head,
slipping out to where the sun rakes the water
and filters through the trees that crowd the shore.

And now he dives,
disappears below the surface,
and while I wait for him to pop up,
I picture him flying underwater with his strange wings,

as I picture you, my tiny mother,
who disappeared last year,
flying somewhere with your strange wings,
your wide eyes, and your heavy wet dress,
kicking deeper down into a lake
with no end or name, some boundless province of water.

The Iron Bridge
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Danny Velasquez 16 July 2007

Wonderful poem full of imagry and metaphors linking his mother to a place and time in a timeliness fashion. Bily Collins is a great poet.

5 2 Reply
Lungelo S Mbuyazi 16 June 2018

Nice write....The metaphors used makes the poem lively and imaginative...

0 0 Reply
Rajnish Manga 16 June 2018

I appreciate the poet for creating some lively images of that remote past- 1902 to be precise- when that Iron Bridge was erected and the poet's mother came into this world. Thanks a lot.

0 0 Reply
Robert Murray Smith 16 June 2018

An image filled write.

0 0 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 16 June 2018

Such a great write by Bill Collins??????

0 0 Reply
Ratnakar Mandlik 16 June 2019

A great emotional attachment with the iron bridge and memoirs connected with it brilliantly chronicled. Well deserved modern poem of the Day.

0 0 Reply
Kumarmani Mahakul 16 June 2019

And now he dives, disappears below the surface, and while I wait for him to pop up, I picture him flying underwater with his strange wings, .....touching expression. Beautiful poem.

1 0 Reply
Dr Antony Theodore 16 June 2019

I think of 1902 when workmen in shirts and caps riveted this iron bridge together across a thin channel joining two lakes where wildflowers blow along the shore now and pairs of swans float in the leafy coves. a very good poem.

0 0 Reply
Adeeb Alfateh 16 June 2019

while I wait for him to pop up, I picture him flying underwater with his strange wings, great 10+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1 0 Reply
Bharati Nayak 16 June 2018

Let me quote from this beautiful poem- - - And now he dives, disappears below the surface, and while I wait for him to pop up, I picture him flying underwater with his strange wings, as I picture you, my tiny mother, who disappeared last year, flying somewhere with your strange wings, your wide eyes, and your heavy wet dress, kicking deeper down into a lake with no end or name, some boundless province of water.

0 1 Reply
READ THIS POEM IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Close
Error Success