“Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.”
--Audre Lorde Quoted on Brainpickings
Hello, dVerse Poets! It’s Merril welcoming you to Poetics Tuesday. We’re almost at the end of poetry month, but I hope you have enough energy to build a bridge or to cross one. Perhaps you might bridge our fears, build bridges over troubled waters, sing about London Bridge falling down, or perhaps whistle while crossing the bridge over the river Kwai.
Bridges are marvels—the physical structures that connect two places, and the metaphorical conceit that links ideas.
Southern New Jersey, where I live, is connected to Philadelphia by several different bridges: The Ben Franklin Bridge, the Walt Whitman Bridge, and others north and south of the city. There are many more famous bridges, of course, among them, the Tower Bridge, Golden Gate, Sydney Harbor, Ponte Vecchio—and there are small footbridges, covered bridges, and hundreds of unnamed bridges all over the world. Bridges have inspired poets in all times and places. Here, William Wordsworth writes about the early morning beauty seen from Westminster Bridge.
However, there is also a modern poetry form call the Puente, which means bridge in Spanish. This form uses a line with a tilde (~) to connect two stanzas. The first and third stanzas must have the same number of lines, but there is no set number of lines, as long as the two stanzas match. They can be rhymed or unrhymed. The bridge line is one single line connecting the first and third stanzas. The last line of the first stanza and the bridge line are a couplet, and the bridge line and the first line of the third stanza are a couplet. The bridge line then often connects stanzas written from different points of view or about different ideas.
I am probably making it sound more complicated than it is, but it really is not. Two stanzas with a middle line that connects them. You can read more on how to write a puente here.
As another example, here is a Puente I wrote recently for the ekphrastic challenge I’m participating in this month. The line “just beyond reach” connects the stanzas before and after, and both of those stanzas are four lines.
By Merril D. Smith, April 2021
She walked through the city bustling, teeming–
bodies electric, grumbling, gleaming,
broken hearts and dreamers dreaming
of crossing bridges, the future seeming
~just beyond reach~
she thinks, the glittering stars. The sight
so wondrous and magical. Tonight,
these constellations of silvery-white ignite–
she wishes, then reaches for the twinkling light.
Back in 2017, Lillian asked dVerse poets to write a poem using the word bridge. Today I’m asking you to either write a poem about bridges OR to write a Puente. If you choose to write a Puente it does not need to include the word bridge (but it can). If you do not write a Puente, then it should use some form of the word bridge in the poem or in the title. Since so many are busy with NaPoWriMo or other poetry month prompts, it is also fine to revise a poem about bridges.
New? Here’s what to do:
–Write a poem about bridges OR write a Puente.
–Post it on your blog.
–Enter the link for that post into Mister Linky.
–Read and comment on others’ posts.