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Chip Bergeron

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The Old Bridge
by Chip Bergeron
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Chip Bergeron
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I was asked to write an ekphrastic (poem describing a given picture) for the opening of a community arts centert near here. The picture was an impressionistic image of a bridge. This is what i came up with.


THE OLD BRIDGE

 

Memories are always like this: hazy, indistinct;

I can see engineering-old time, not like its done today:

Concrete on stone footings much wider than the creek.

In the summer it barely flows, but melting snows

Make it in spring a swift freshet, drowning boulders

Otherwise exposed, and rising sometimes to within inches

Of the bridge bottom. But it always held, and holds now.

 

The mind is a funny thing: physical reality is unclear,

But the events of a boy’s life around the bridge are sharp;

Sharper than sharp, and focused like beams of purest light

That will remain uninvented for decades. What wonderful times!

Do you remember fishing there, catching horn-pout and perch?

And the day Andy caught that humungous bass, the one

That was unlucky enough to blunder down from the pond?

 

In high summer we’d shuck our clothes and jump and splash,

Sometimes diving off the big boulder in the middle.

There was always a deep spot right behind, and boy…

Was that water cold!!! Mom told us to always keep our

Clothes on, but what mothers didn’t know never hurt them.

It wasn’t as if there was a lot of traffic, and as long as you

Kept an eye out for girls, nobody minded. We felt so free!

 

What about all those skating parties in the winter, the games

Of swamp hockey and shinny? Or we’d make a long line and play

Crack the whip, peeling off in a million directions. One of the

Big kids would build a fire from fallen branches, and when we got cold

We could get close, and warm hands, feet and backsides. Someone

Would bring hot dogs, boil water for hot chocolate in a #10 can-

There was never a king who banqueted better in youths comradeship.

 

So much, so much happened around that bridge. An older me

Stole a kiss or two under it. But can a kiss be stolen actually if it

Was freely given? Those first were far sweeter than any shared since.

Time obscures. The boy I was then is still a boy. The body changes,

The mind remembers what it wants, and it still wants-fiercely.

The old bridge stands, and though how it stood then is obscure,

This old boy sees unhindered the life and the times that flow beneath.

 

Chip Bergeron

14 June 2004

 

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Reviewed by Patrick Granfors 6/15/2012
Chip, I love the way you start this. So true. I love the way you end this. So true. Patrick
Reviewed by Tom Hyland 6/15/2012
CHIP ... PAR EXCELLENCE' !
Reviewed by Richard King 6/15/2012
Chip, This certainly brings back lots of memories. (one I hadn't thought of in close to 60 years) Bet your rendering was a rousing success.

Well done. Dick
Reviewed by Budd Nelson 6/15/2012
Chip,
a cool rememberance well portrayed.
Budd



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