The Bridge by John Redwood Anderson



A view from Nelson Mandela Bridge by Aluwani Nemaxwi

A view from Nelson Mandela Bridge by Aluwani Nemaxwi


The pictures (above) captured by Aluwani Nemaxwi from the Nelson Mandela Bridge that lies between Braamfontein and Newtown in Johannesburg reminded me of a poem titled The Bridge by the late John Redwood Anderson for some reason. It’s amazing how the regular posts on photographs that I like have inspired some of my friends to unearth the photographer within them.

The Bridge


  Here, with one leap,

The bridge that spans the cutting; on its back

The load

 Of the main-road,

  And under it the railway-track.

 Into the plains they sweep,

 Into the solitary plains asleep,

The flowing lines, the parallel lines of steel—

Fringes with their narrow grass,

 Into the plains they pass,

 The flowing lines, like arms of mute appeal.



A cry

 Prolonged across the earth—a call

 To the remote horizons and the sky;

 The whole east rushes down them with its light, 

And the whole west receives them, with its pall

 Of stars and night—

The flowing lines, the parallel lines of steel.



And with the fall

Of darkness, see! The red,

 Bright anger of the signal, where it flares

 Like a huge eye that stares

 On some hid danger in the dark ahead.

A twang of wire—unseen

The signal drops; and now, instead

Of a red eye, a green.



Out of the silence grows

 An iron thunder—grows, and roars, and sweeps,

Menacing! The plain

 Suddenly leaps,

 Startled, from its repose—

 Alert and listening. Now, from the gloom

Of the soft distance, loom

Three lights and, over them, a brush

Of tawny flame and flying spark—

Three pointed lights that rush,

 Monstrous, upon the cringing dark.



 And nearer, nearer rolls the sound,

Louder the throb and roar of wheels,

The shout of speed, the shriek of steam;

The sloping bank,



Cut into flashing squares, gives back the clank

And grind of metal, while the ground

Shudders and the bridge reels—

 As, with a scream,

The train,

 A rage of smoke, a laugh of fire,

 A lighted anguish of desire,

A dream

 Of gold and iron, of sound and flight,

Tumultuous roars across the night.



 The train roars past—and , with a cry,

Drowned in a flying howl of wind,

Half-stifled in the smoke and blind,

The plain,

 Shaken, exultant, unconfined,

 Rises, flows on, and follows, and sweeps by,

 Shrieking, to lose itself in distance and the sky.


                                     By: JOHN REDWOOD ANDERSON.

More on John Redwood Anderson:


About tshauambea

I am a lover of poetry and nature; a writer and aspiring photographer. View all posts by tshauambea

2 responses to “The Bridge by John Redwood Anderson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: