Loving ode to bridge poets: The Unknown Bridge

Upper Paris Bridge in Linn County. Photo taken in August 2011

The Month of Bridge Poets

The month of dedicating our loving odes to bridge poets continue with another bridge poem that was discovered a few years ago. Unlike the previous post (which featured the first poem), this one is untitled and was written by an unknown soul. Yet the author wrote the poem about a bridge that had been serving people and traffic- in a form of horse and buggy- with a question of what stories the bridge may had had at that time. While it was most likely written in the 18th or early 19th century, the central theme has to do with bridges and their own history. Let’s have a look at the poem:


What stories could these bridges tell

If they could only talk?

They’d tell us of the ones who rode

And those who had to walk.

The rich, the poor, those inbetween,

Who used their planks to cross

The soldiers, farmers, businessmen,

In buggies, sleighs, by “hoss”.

Like sentinels these bridges stand

In spite of flood and fire,

Their rugged, stalwart strength remains our

Future to inspire

Each bridge does have a collection of stories that may have been told by people who either knew about it from the stories told by their ancestors or who had visited the bridge, doing activities that were sometimes memorable, like a Sunday walk with family to catch-up on lost time, and sometimes not so memorable, like a getting into a brawl with archrivals or even worse.

With each crossing of the bridge, a mark is left on its planks, its metal beams and its ornamental railings that can tell of the times of joy and that of trial. Each bridge is part of a community of people wanting to know more about its history, let alone create history to share with the next generations. And therefore, this poem deals with bridges and the stories that are unknown and should be sought, their legacies and how it should remain in place, and their symbol as a structure that serves as an identity to their respective communities.

Author’s note: If you know of the title of this poem and the author’s name, please submit it to Jason D. Smith at the Chronicles and it will be added to the poem. 

Also, after reading the poem, here’s a question for the forum:  Do you have a bridge with a lot of stories that you heard about and/or would like to share with others? If so, please place them in the comment section here or via facebook. We’re eager to read them.