Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950

By David Cecil; Allen Tate | Go to book overview

William Meredith (Am. b. 1919)

A View of the Brooklyn Bridge

The growing need to be moving around it to see it,
To prevent its freezing, as with sculpture and
metaphor,
Finds now skeins, now strokes of the sun in a dark
Crucifixion etching, until you end by caring
What the man's name was who made it,
The way old people care about names and are
Forever seeing resemblances to people now dead.

Of stone and two metals drawn out so
That at every time of day
They speak out of strong resemblances, as:
Wings whirring so that you see only where
Their strokes finish, or: spokes of dissynchronous
wheels

Whose pictures and poems should accurately be
signed
With the engineer's name, whatever he meant;
These are called: Tines inflicting a river, justly,
Or, thinking how its cables owe each something
To the horizontal and something to the vertical:
A graph of the odds against
Any one man's producing a masterpiece

Yet far from his, the engineer's, at sunrise
And again at sunset when,
Like the likenesses the old see,
Loveliness besets it as haphazard as genes:
Fortunate accidents take the form of cities
At either end, the cities give their poor edges

To the river, the buildings there
The fair color that things have to be.
Oh, the paper reeds by a brook
Or the lakes that lie on bayous like a leopard
Are not at more seeming random, or more certain
In their sheen how to stand than these towns are.

-619-

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