Festival of Bridges #7 ~ Bridges and Sighs

There are all sorts of bridges that make me sigh and I want to thank David Millington-Croft from the magnificent There is No Cavalry for mentioning the Bridge of Sighs in a comment at the start of this Festival of Bridges. 

Bridge of Sighs, Venice. www.artween.com
Bridge of Sighs, Venice.
http://www.artween.com

I’ve spent most of the day thinking about bridges that make me sigh and also pondering on the word sigh. I’m taking it in a positive sense here ~ to mean bridges in a range of contexts that have touched my soul.  Here are my top five out of possible thousands!

#1 Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco ~ a bridge that won my heart in 1983 and is still carved there, especially when I see the sun rising.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco www.patricksmithphotgtraphy.com
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
http://www.patricksmithphotogtraphy.com

 #2 Claude Monet’s painting of The Bridge at Argenteuil.  I associate this  very much with my late father and I was fortunate enough to see it in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC in November 2010, just eight weeks after father’s death.

The Bridge at Argenteuil www.cmonetgallery.com
The Bridge at Argenteuil
http://www.cmonetgallery.com

3# Senator George Mitchell who played such a key role  in negotiating the Peace Process in Northern Ireland. Having lived through the years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland which claimed the lives of over 3,000 people, I am eternally grateful that those terrible, terrible years are behind us.

Senator George Mitchell www.wesa.fm
Senator George Mitchell
http://www.wesa.fm

#4 Jack B. Yeats’ painting  ‘The Liffey Swim.’  This painting has huge significance for me as it hangs in The National Gallery of Ireland, a place which I visited very, very regularly throughout the 15+ years I lived in Dublin.  When I was leaving Dublin I bought a copy of the painting which lives in my study here in Tramore. The bridge in the painting is Butt Bridge which I crossed regularly, especially during my junior tennis days when I was catching the train to and from Drogheda which was home then.

The Liffey Swim by Jack.B.Yeats www.nationalgallery.ie
The Liffey Swim
by Jack.B.Yeats
http://www.nationalgallery.ie

# ‘The Bridge Builder’ by Will Allen Drumgoole.  This poem reminds me of the many, many older people who have built bridges for me over the years. I would like to think that I thanked them sufficiently for their kindness but I know full well that I didn’t.

THE BRIDGE BUILDER

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

 

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

 

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

 

 Will Allen Drumgoole

 

*****

The Festival of Bridges continues until October 31 and I would love to hear about bridges that make YOU sigh. Please email me with your words, images, music at jeantubridy@aol.com. 

 

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

20 thoughts on “Festival of Bridges #7 ~ Bridges and Sighs”

  1. This post just got through to me what you see as the important concept behind “bridge”. That’s pretty amazing Jean. I have contemplated this bigger concept some in the past and have found a few similar words – words that can be used as a lense through which most of humanity’s actions can be defined. A “moving” or “action” word that presumes the existence of a previous place or undertanding and a better place or understanding and the ability to cross between them. Somehow this is a critical part of being human. Another such word is commuication..But bridge is better. A word that brings hope and, to a certain extent, faith (for there is no underlyng reality under the bridge – only faith)

    Excellent post Jean. Very thought provoking. Thank you very ,much.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks very much for writing and for your thought-provoking points.
      Yes, the concept of ‘bridge’ is hugely important to me and I think that ‘connecting’ or ‘linking’ are the action words I would most associate with them.
      I’d like to think that bridges are about hope as hope is arguably the most important thing we have in this life ~ though love clips at its heels!

  2. As a mum, like you I seem to have been building bridges all my life, with husbands, with sons, with teachers with friends for love for life forever ………. then there are the sighs! Beautiful post!

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