In the following poem, the French symbolist poet Guillaume Apollinaire gazes with his lover as the River Seine flows a steady course beneath them. Symbolizing love, passion, and longing, the poem also represents time, yet it has no power while the lovers are bound within each other’s shelter:
Similarly, Nobel Prize winner Juan Ramon Jimenez finds water as a metaphor for love in his poem; the water passes beneath the bridge, passing but never changing:
To the bridge of love,
old stone between tall cliffs
— eternal meeting place, red evening —,
I come with my heart.
— My beloved is only water,
that always passes away, and does not deceive,
that always passes away, and does not change,
that always passes away, and does not end.
—by Juan Ramon Jimenez
Try It: Bridge of Love Poetry
How do the surroundings of a bridge, or a bridge itself symbolize love and relationships? Explore the metaphor using the architecture of a bridge— perhaps the beauty, shape, or strength. You can also follow the examples above and use the bridge as a bond, a connection, or even a stage in which to write a poem about love as a different kind of metaphor.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here is a poem from Monica we enjoyed:
Two lines, like the long walls of a tunnel, parallel
under what defines them: a fixed distance that
never lets them intersect, never allows a
nexus. Keeping a constant distance is not
exactly a pushing-away. But hold out a stiff arm’s
length, and the two will never touch.
—by Monica Sharman
Photo by Maria Eklind. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland