Saturday, 22 March 2014

Building Bridges

Steve at Walmsley Bridge, 1876The following poem relates to the glorious summer of 1976 when my parents would take me to Walmsley Bridge, together with my two pals. Each time we went we'd spend the entire day building a makeshift bridge, never actually getting around to playing on it.  

Building Bridges
(Walmsley Bridge, 1976)

Remember days of warmth and light
When cares ran free and hid away?
The times when we would reunite,
That everlasting holiday?

The shallow stream in which we stood
The water playing round our limbs;
To wiggle toes and feel the mud
Adapting to our slightest whims;
To feel the pebbles ‘neath our feet
And watch the ripples grow and hide
As slowly we would walk, replete
With satisfaction, side by side.

Each time there we would mastermind
A plan, convinced it was unique,
To build a bridge from what we’d find:
From fallen branches, cross the creek.

The larger stones that we could shift,
(Strategic placement in the stream) 
Some heavier than we could lift,
We’d roll them, working as a team.
A branch we’d place across each pair,
Or more than one if they were thin;
With smaller rocks that we’d find there
We’d take great pains to wedge them in.

I’d hear the water change its route
To rush at speed between the stones
And then I’d watch it distribute
The floating twigs to calmer zones.

For hours on end we’d work like ants:
The watching sun would change its view
Of three young lads with dampened pants:
A holiday construction crew.
But then we’d hear my parents shout,
“Hey! Come ashore and dry your feet,”
We’d had no chance to test it out:
At least the building was complete.