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20 The Bridge

hexagram-20-bridge‘THOUGH THEIR FAITH requires slenderness, transparency for the landscape, there’s
an issue all bridge-makers face: the curse of the signature.’

Stresses hold their balance for the leap from shore to shore. Those who
wish to linger often reduce themselves to some special provision, an eddy
in the flow. Minutes are precious but an hour feels like forever. Most of us
just dash across the word-break. So easy to miss the garrulous gist of an
oarsman shooting for freedom, downstream from the slave states.

1st – The Bridge of Time
The school prodigy takes her friend to the bridge in the old town to show
her the foam streaming back from the piers, proving the spin of the earth.
‘Isn’t that just the river flowing by?’ ‘What do you think the river is but the
wake of our disappointments, which time, thank God, outpaces?’

2nd – The Bridge of Sighs
The rain comes down and the dark clouds frown. Howling big wind. A
train rattles between high girders, cotters loose on chattering ties: shock
loading on lugs under stress. In the dusky moonlight, northbound, we’re
relieved of our tickets. Then a surge of fear: we rise like a hot air balloon.

3rd – The Bridge of Missed Opportunity
Purposeful locals building with bamboo were never advised of the
explosion plot. You’re led to the site by a child extra, now a dishevelled,
importunate tourist guide. Here are shallows with a few might-have-been
concrete abutments – elusive stumps in the mouth of the dream horse.

4th – The Bridge of Spies
On one side the spy plane pilot, who should have jumped without his
parachute to avoid capture; on the other, a codebreaker with a headful of
chess. Months of back-channel ploys converge. Bundled in dark overcoats,
they trudge across the bridge in a snow dome of overlapping searchlights.

5th – The Sheltering Bridge
Sleeping under arches, this clan might hope at best for the river’s surprises
– floating fruit, a charity boat plying its improbable mission. Their
children, however, believe in the gendarme deranged by a lottery windfall,
grinning weirdly, unlocking the street cells, waiving the camping bribes.

6th – The Bridge of No Return
A scaffold so high above water offers a quick, reliable result for a month
of planning. Forcing the lock, the father finds a bookmarked website
for jumpers; then gets a call from the highways office an ocean and a
continent away. A village hears its baffled anger boiling in the pulpit.

All six – The Bridge of Heaven on Earth
Architects, bankers and City Hall supremos mingle at a Freemasonic
dinner on the theme of Wings and the River. Behold the first stirrings
of the harp, the celestial steel. Beneath the moment’s vault, the flow of
eternity, a rippling curveship in the smog storm, anchored in granite.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos


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