‘French King Bridge’

Here’s a poem from another November, from a weekend spent with friends in central Massachusetts. The poem first appeared in Jim Dyment’s VYU arts magazine that documented Lowell’s cultural scene at the turn of the new century and kept going. You can see back issues online at www.vyumagazine.com. Jim works at the Whistler House Museum of Art.—PM


“French King Bridge”  


Eight of us gave ourselves an assignment:

Climb a hundred-fifty feet up a rocky slope, from the Connecticut’s edge

To the deck of French King Bridge, a beauty-contest winner.

And the bridge was as gorgeous as a battleship—

Black trusses whose rivets popped in sunny highlight,

Beaming metal tinted by a powder-blue November sky.

The structure shone a midnight blue, like a black-and-blue,

Like a bruise, almost like a plum, in the blue-sky morning—

The air as fresh as a crow’s hard call.

We skidded on gravel, picking a route between gully and soft spots,

Bracing against the abutment, glancing back once to scare ourselves

On the way to the odd gift we’d give ourselves:

A sense of self as tiny as a figure in a Chinese landscape scroll,

On top of a prize view of Pioneer Valley

Slightly past the wild color peak.


—Paul Marion (c) 2000