Standing Bridges

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The art in which suspension bridges
Are made is to gently shake,
That, if you carry a baby
From one end to end, as you reach this side
She’d be no more awake.

“So, carry me”; but, when I use the
Word “baby”, I use it not — as you think I do —
Figuratively: I mean toddler-types, kids
Underneath, say, the age of three.
And not you, the one who is loved by me.

I cross the familiar planks
And, as the cables and metal swing,
A familiar thought, which many a times had come,
Comes to me, the way a worm digs through the murk:
That I should give up dull sauntering; quit my work.

“And go where?” Wherever the wind takes me,
Said the Man; for the complexity of decision
Can be resolved with the hiring of a simple plan.
Perhaps, a quitter never wins when the winner never
Yields to quit. But, let my yawn of a life be exempted from it.

As you flow, gentle river, down under me,
If I fall over, or if I jump, will you
Help me be free? Or get me a life through a by-floating
Tree branch dead and aimless?
So, that we may float downstream to immortality.

The suddhas brought the iron
And the top hats and pipes that went
Into the bridge-designing were cleaned by their wives.
Now, they’ve all gone, dead — here or abroad.
Those who were taken in by Buddhism — Reborn.

That they will tear my shirt and carry my
Torso over to some torture chamber, is what
I thought would happen when I first
Wore this shirt. “Reborn” it is, grey and striped
Like a hidden third party of an expired flirt.



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