An Old Swinging Bridge
A bridge stands at the river’s rightward bend.
Technically it forks there, but straight and left
The stagnant water stands still to end in mud
Still in view, unless that is, the water’s high,
While the river just falls and pours to the right,
Shallow and fast, it is low enough to ford, but
High enough to send you around that bend
Into unknown darker shadowed waters,
If you don’t paddle quick enough to shore.
Rivers work like that, and single life flows as such,
Choices you make, dead-ends, and mysteries,
Where one’s life races seemingly out of control
Around a new bend, or slows into a muddy slough.
But side by side, you join hands and help each other
To shore, holding cold beers in the other hand,
You walk together, soggy river shoes sloshing,
Across the rocks, and through the well-worn path
To walk the bridge that swings in the breeze above.
Marriage is that old swinging bridge spanning
The river, connecting two distant banks,
And beckoning new couples to plant their
Four feet firmly on those old worn boards above.
If the bridge is marriage, then the great iron towers
Are love, rising out of the ground to hold it all up,
The foundation, rooted in the ground on both sides.
The cables that suspend across and give extension
Are parallel—these the cords of faith and hope.
Faith extends out from love, and knows its grip
Has been firm, and hope stands beside it, knowing
Love’s purposes perfectly work themselves forward
Across any chasm or above the river racing below.
To each side is a metal screen, guides to keep you
Safe and secure—these your vows, wherein safe
Inside you stay, though you can see where others
Have bent them down, thinking adventure awaits
For those who jump back into the stream below.
The temptation is real, for you can see, if you look,
All the other fish, swimming together there, carefree
In the cool, clear water below. And you don’t see
The danger, for the bodies of the fallen have washed
Away down-stream long before, but they left behind
Their legacy of temptation in the screen’s bent wires.
The wooden boards mark the path your feet tread,
And you find that some of these boards, through time
Are broken or missing. The challenges of marriage
Are real, and there are times when the best laid plans
Fall through, literally, but you never see two boards
Fallen out together. When those times come, lean in,
Hold on, grasp tightly, and forever cling to love,
To each other, and you will find security in the other,
And your ever-clinging arms. Just never let go, and you
Will become a beacon for those floating down stream,
They will see you standing and find comfort there, and
See hope, that someone else has made it, and stands
Ready, always to pick them up and give them a lift back
In his truck to camp to start their journey over again.