This Poem was Submitted By: Mell W. Morris On Date: 2003-11-18 19:41:24 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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The Other Side

There's something about a bridge that pleases my senses and eases my spirit. Evolved from man's resolve to cross an abyss, ravine, or the sheen of a river,  it becomes as sleepless as the water that runs under. My favorite bridges are not formal, turreted arches but the old wooden, spavined spans that rattle as I pass. Covered with honeysuckle vines that twine along the railing, they assail with splendid scents. It's said that a bridge assumes most aspects of the water around it, and serene or spumescent, this perfection of connection elevates my being. My focus then turns inward to locate traits I may assimilate from the streams and rills  that fill my dreams.

Copyright © November 2003 Mell W. Morris

This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2003-12-05 22:51:18
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.92308
Hi Mell, Bridges as a sort of spiritual metaphor ... how lovely! The bridge is to all appearances immovable, enduring and watchful through its very purpose and design: ... Evolved from man's resolve to cross an abyss, ravine, or the sheen of a river, it becomes as sleepless as the water that runs under. Perhaps this can also describe our own Higher self, or soul or whatever one wishes to term it. We may lose conscious awareness but the indwelling mentor never rests. The "abyss" may well imply that Dark Night of the soul that is so well known to seekers of the truth. Your traditional internal ryme is at its best here, with evolved/resolve, ravine/sheen, becomes/runs. Sibilance flows throughout, smoothing the syllables like water (cross/abyss/sheen/sleppless}. Yeah!! The second strophe paints an idyllically rustic country scene, that betokens a simple, nature-oriented outlook. "Not formal, turreted arches" is the denial of rigidity and ostentation. I love "spavined spans" as they suggest a crooked-legged old horse that has worked hard and paid for this labor. But the misshapen spans are softened by flowers, and once more the "s" breathes gently over the scene with its evidence of gravutational challenges. assail with splendid scents. It's said that a bridge assumes most aspects ... And, of course, the internal rhyme continues to interweave among the lines. It isn't obvious but it is detectable, if that makes any sense. The ear knows! The final strophe offers your spiritual statement, the connection between tangible structures and intangible benefits. We can draw and apply lessons from every challenge, whether it taxes us to the limit or merely piques our curiosity. " ... serene/or spumescent [great word!] shows the opposing forces that shape us, like water itself. ... this perfection of connection elevates my being. Bridges link two sides, as we span the distance between pre-birth and afterlife. Our own existence is in itself a metaphorical bridge or connector. As this has been planned in advance, yes, it is perfect as bridges are also perfect. My focus then turns inward to locate traits I may assimilate from the streams and rills that fill my dreams Glorious internal rhyme here, and what a profound and elegantly-phrased comment on the purpose of the speaker's musing! She gains much from her observations, as we too must learn from everything that surrounds us. Streams and rills move purposefully too, and navigate obstacles with ease because they never stop in their motion. The last word, appropriately, implies a larger landscape known to the subconscious mind. Great or small, each of the "streams and rills" has something to offer. We profit from every experience, even if it may seem trivial at the time. This is a sure winner and I applaud your skill and artist's eye for having crafted it so very well. My Best Always, Brenda

This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2003-12-05 21:30:56
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.74359
Hi Mell, I would not end the month without critiquing this one. This is so artistic and every essence of poetry is here. One thing that I can describe this poem is, "it is moving". It makes the readers participate in the thought by pondering. This is a great great work. I would not critique this further but just savoring on the reflective touch it has given me. Everything here are essentially outstanding, the theme, the flow, the language, the figurative speech used and a lot more to amaze the readers. I have critiqued your other piece "Watermarks". But I would select this one. Thank you and congratulations for this superb work! I salute to you with all my admiration and respect for your work. Jordan
This Poem was Critiqued By: C Arrownut On Date: 2003-12-05 19:38:15
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.50000
Hi Claire, I can certainly see why this poem has hit #1. Great going and well-deserved. Your poem was described so well that I couldn't help but remember the covered bridges I've gone through. These old remnants were made like forts with special love and care of craftsmanship. I can certainly see how they lead you to think of your own dreams. These bridges were made when people were settling this country--their dream, and the sturdiness of bridge indicates their determination to stay in this land. In particular, I like the line: the old wooden spavined spans. The image is priceless and very realistic. And "covered with honeysuckle vines that twine along the railings." Excellent and I see you not only meant covered bridges, but all wooden ones. The artistry of our ancestors has been captured in this poem. Congratulations, C. Arrownut
This Poem was Critiqued By: Erzahl Leo M. Espino On Date: 2003-12-01 07:59:50
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.71429
Hi Mell, These are the poems that I want to read…from a simple “observation” to a profound and meaningful “conclusion”. Your descriptive words for the “bridge” is magnificent! I like the lines: “it becomes as sleepless as the water that runs under.” --- So lyrical…yet I have pictured it immediately! The “sleepless” symbolizes its busyness like the river. You have covered it all with elegance…from its structure, from its build, to its purpose, to your “walk” (I like the line: “spavined spans that rattle as I pass”) and even to its bubbly fragrance. “My focus then turns inward to locate traits I may assimilate from the streams and rills that fill my dreams.” --- Great ending! Graceful exit! I like the rhyming of “rills” and “fill” and “streams” and “dreams”. You have summarized it with such depth. It now brings back to the depth of your title “The Other Side”. To associate the “crossing of the bridge” from here to there(the other end), as somehow fulfilling your dreams is just perfect! May I find my bridge and hope to cross my dreams on the other side. :) Kudos on another display of your talent Mell! More of this! For me, this is another winner! God bless! As always, Erzahl
This Poem was Critiqued By: Sherri L Smith On Date: 2003-11-30 16:13:02
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.81818
Dear Mell, So glad to see you back to writing and critiquing again. I have been very busy but wanted to comment on the poems that spoke directly to me. I love a covered bridge, the old wooden kind that only one horse and carriage could go through at a time. They have some lovely ones in Brown Co. Indiana and I always enjoy walking through them and thinking of what those planks would say if they could talk. You tickled my imagination! I loved it. Love, Sherri
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne Duval Morgan On Date: 2003-11-30 08:12:10
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Dearest Mell, Your dreams are wonderful, the romantic nature of the thrust of this poem show you to be a true romantic. I too, love the older wooden bridges, the age growth of vines, that caress it's foundation mesmerize and draw one to wonder who were the men who built this span, where each board shimmies when rolled over. The quality of recollection is marvelously encased in the great use of descriptives, as the flow is sooth, and lends to the romantic, of a time that was, that won't be again, likethe enduring sturdiness of these bridges (and there are many in evidence right in my area if one leaes the main road to traverse the back roads). Love it of course, you outdoyourself in the craftniess of writing poetry, but you mainatain the wonderful vocabulary. There isn't anything I can suggest, just read and enjoy and onece again provide a limted comment. (this month has been very difficult to critique, shoulder aches, pain pills I dislike so I go without and take tylenol instead, narcotic give me bananas, and make me break out in hives, so bettwer without). Did want to comment and tell you how enjoyable the subject is, and your proclaimination and project is perfect, and once again a most highly enjoyable read. Love always Friend.Girl, Jo
This Poem was Critiqued By: Wanda S. Thibodeaux On Date: 2003-11-23 13:15:20
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Dear Mell, Although I have read all of your work always, I have participated less lately due to health issues. It is with pleasure that I am up to commenting on this poem. I would never think of calling anything I say a critique, but I when I comment, it is with the emotion that the piece wrung out of me. This one did just that because I relate also to old bridges, etc., those things we only see now in artwork or history books. On accasion when I have been off in the countryside, in the mountains perhaps, I have come across just such a picture as you describe, "old wooden, spavined spans that rattle as I pass", no longer used, always posted: keep off, dangerous crossing, and my heart sees it as it must have been years ago. I understand how old bridges are regarded as favorite subjects by so many artists. Your musical treatment of slant/internal rhyme is marvelous indeed and most of your poetry seems to long for an instrument to accompany the words. Alabama was blessed with beautiful rivers and little crooked streams (rills) that trench into and out of the larger bodies of water. They spill over rocks and moss covered soil, an absolutely joyous playground. Happily, there was always a bridge to "The Other Side." Your poem reminded me of one in particular that I was fond of, thank you so much. Happy Sunday! Good luck this month! Wanda
This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas Edward Wright On Date: 2003-11-22 22:26:34
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.63636
From the Bridges of Madison County to Brooklyn Bridge to the plank across the crick in the back forty we take them for granted until they're noticed by someone like you. A nice tight (again) piece with lots of internal rhymes, good rhythm and pace and a fine message. It'll never sell. But who the hell cares. We're just passin' gas. Aren't we? See ya, Tex. The Saturday Night Sadist
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2003-11-20 16:38:54
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.90909
Dear Mell: I imagine you can guess that I am going to have a strong reaction to this poem! It is excellent as a poem - constructed with your trademark ease of reading and musicality. All of the elements I love best in your poetry are present. The subtle change in voice and the poem's theme suggest a transition or transformation of a spiritual nature, yet there is nothing in the least preachy or doctrinaire in this work. It is, above all, a work of art. Any philosophical directions I find reflected in it may or may not have been your intent - they could simply be my own projection. "The Other Side" as a title evokes for me the realm of spirit. There is a book with this title, a compilation by a psychic of her experiences with the departed. The poem addresses traversing one state of being to another - so that, once again, a poem of yours has universal application and appeal, though very much a personal expression by the poet. There's something about a bridge that pleases my senses and eases my spirit. Evolved from man's resolve to cross an abyss, ravine, or the sheen of a river, it becomes as sleepless as the water that runs under. A "bridge" may serve as a metaphor for any transition, as in "a bridge over troubled water." For going from one experience to another. It may be symbolic of the speaker's personal experience of reality undergoing change. In line three, the word "spirit" gives me chills. The impression of a bridge leading from the physical earth life to the life of the spirit overwhelms me now, as it did when I first read the work. The idea of crossing "an abyss" or "a river" further suggest the final crossing of death of the body, at least to this reader. It is always a sign of movement and change, in any case. The bridge, which has "evolved from man's resolve" has become "as sleepless" as the "water that runs under." It is only the body which sleeps, never the soul. Your trademark internal rhymes, for example, in "evolved/resolve" and "pleases/eases" are soothing, and yet, I am disquieted. I am caught up in pondering the abyss, the ravine, the "sheen of a river" which must be crossed. The "water" that "runs under" is one of the most universal symbols. It is usually connected to emotions, intuitions, psychic impressions (there's that word again!) and of course the subconscious mind. It is, as well, the symbol of archetypal feminine energy. In Christian rites, water represents life, death, and resurrection. The water "that runs under" is deep. My favorite bridges are not formal, turreted arches but the old wooden, spavined spans that rattle as I pass. If I stick with the metaphor of a bridge as a means of transition, I lose something here. Perhaps a bridge can also represent religious rites, those which can enhance our "ease" of passing over from one realm of existence into another. In this case, the speaker eschews "formal" religion, prefering "old wooden" - comfortable and familiar. I love the sounds of "spavined spans" and the acoustical imagery of a bridge which rattles as the speaker passes. This stirs a memory for me of another sort of bridge - one crossing a swift, deep river on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. It was an old rope bridge, with wooden steps which were mostly missing or loose. It took all of the courage I had to pass over that bridge. I was the last in the group to cross over it, and I stopped in the middle and looked down. I wasn't afraid, but aware that I would have missed this moment of exhilarating beauty had I not had the courage to cross. Covered with honeysuckle vines that twine along the railing, they assail with splendid scents. What a welcoming passage it would be, to walk across such a bridge, one "covered with fragrant honeysuckle vines/that twine along the railing"! Honeysuckle symbolises deep affection and faith, I believe. This is not the flower of formality, but of spontaneous joy and simplicity. This bridge is one which welcomes the one who crosses it with deep affection, for that person is *known* as they are, and unconditionally loved. It demands nothing. It's said that a bridge assumes most aspects of the water around it, and serene or spumescent, this perfection of connection elevates my being. I can read this poem no other way than as a sublime spiritual passage. The bridge is one which is fluid, assuming the aspects "of the water around it" --taking a form or shape which is comforting to the passenger. The connection between bridge, water and speaker is one of ultimate "perfection" and thus speaks to this reader, at least, of entering the heavenly realms. "perfection/connection" and the many sibilants use throughout the work are samples of the wondrous construction you give this work - one which feels entirely as natural as the lovely old wooden bridge. My focus then turns inward to locate traits I may assimilate from the streams and rills that fill my dreams. The speaker contemplates her inner spirit, and shows us how she has already perceived, in dreams, her ultimate connection with Spirit. This is so beautifully written as to bring tears. Whether they are of joy or mourning, I cannot tell. You, and this exquisite poem, become a kind of bridge for the reader to contemplate the ultimate meanings of life and death, and the way in which we shall approach them. Profoundly moving work. What glorious images you have given us, once more! Brava! All my best, Joanne
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-11-20 16:11:25
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.57143
Here in New England we have many wonderful little towns that offer these beautifull covered bridges.....the feeling one has when just passing by let alone driving through is joy to one's heart for it seems to take you to a different place and time......there was a time before our mom's needed such care that Jerry and I used to drive within the woods of New England in search of such bridges...old landmarks You have structured this very well, your word flow allows this reader to come and go, pass or stay, remain and watch over again as others come to see the wonders of the world of yesteryear.....even the metal bridges that held those trains as they crossed the river then ran the edge of the that is majestic as well.......... I have no doubt of your love of these old wooden bridges as expressed by your visuals. This is such a nice read with peace felt within one's soul as the journey continues on.....there is much history to be learnt as well when one takes the time to find these old bridges......there is usually an older home near by that offers an open door, come sit on the porch type and talk awhile....found a few of those here in Hew Hampshire......and once we even found a spot in the middle of the road, a four corner kind of thing, where there was a toll booth.....just a short little shanty that no one operated any longer but at one time a toll was taken to cross over the bridge..... Thank you forposting this, for bringing forth many happy memories of long drives in the woods, of seeking out a new bridge (old but new to us) and of the love of the people of years gone by for building them in such fine propoertions that they remain to this day.....Be safe, God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2003-11-20 10:45:40
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.46154
Dear Mell, There is a gentle tranquility in this piece that is so soothing. It's no mystery why I gravitate toward your poems. This one is like water to a thirsty traveler, quenching my parched being. When I first read the title "The Other Side", I immediately thought of heaven or the spirit world. This poem (the bridge) takes on a heavenly spirit all it's own. Unity or sense of oneness is the prevailing feeling I am left with after drinking it all in. The opening line focuses instantly on quieting and calming our psyche. The aroma of your linguistic expertise wafts through my mind, lulling me with internal rhymes of please/ease, then, evolved/resolve, ravine/sheen, and abyss/sleepless. Assonance also floats on the gentle breeze of your words. River/water/under adds soft rhyme and rhythym. You personify the bridge, giving it a spirit of it's own, as it becomes "sleepless as the water that runs under"---I love that line. "Evolved from man's resolve to cross" gives an added demension here. In the second strophe, you turn up the thermostat on the imagry with a delightful description. The spavine/spans alliteration gives a rustic feel as does "rattle". Add honeysuckle's scent and beauty to the mix and I am wanting to sit down and hang my legs through the rustic slats and inhale all the sights. "Vines that twine" is sounds wonderful and adds beauty to the visual. Railing/assail is another addition to the internal rhyme that makes this piece so lovely to read aloud. The enjambment bridging strophes two and three is masterfully done like only you can do, Mell. The idea of the bridge taking on the aspects of the water under it tickles my mind awake to concentrate and meditate, if you will, on this new idea. "This perfection of connection elivates my being"---what a great line with a great rhyme as well! Also Traits/assimilate, streams/dreams and rills/fill ---more internal rhyming that adds so much to the rhythym and appeal of this piece. By the end I am one with the bridge. lol. The thought that we, ourselves take on the traits of our own environment, like the bridge is another thought that elevates the reader to a place of unity with the universe. This is one I am printing out to read over and over. Thanks for the mood/ mind-elevating read. My best, Jennifer
This Poem was Critiqued By: Annette L Cowling On Date: 2003-11-19 08:02:07
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.72727
Mell - What a beautiful piece of work! This poem is so pleasing to the senses with descriptive phrases that flow together so well. Funny you should write that your favorite bridges are not the formal ones, but the older wooden ones. Indeed the faded old bridges seem to spark the imagination the most and we are more keenly aware of our surroundings by their inspiration. The great lines in your poem are too numorous to mention, but I guess my favorite one would be: "Covered with honeysuckle vines that twine along the railing, they assail with spendid scents". This is really superb writing! Annette
This Poem was Critiqued By: Turner Lee Williams On Date: 2003-11-18 23:51:15
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.36364
Mell--This poem could have easily been about Clint Eastwood's "The Bridges of Madison County." This movie was and still is one of my favorites. Through reading your piece my mind flashed back to many scenes of Eastwood's character feelings, visits, photographs and driving over these old landmarks. Your piece is saturated with Internal & slant rhymes, i.e., pleases/eases; Evolved/resolve; cross/abyss; ravine/sheen; runs under. There is no doubt about your fondness for these same type of old wooden bridges as expressed by your descriptors continuing through the 2nd stanza: your use of combinations run-on/internal rhyme, vines/twine, as/pass, in the mist of consonance (spavine spans) are easy flowing (no accident here). The enjambment of the line between the 2nd and 3rd stanza allows an uninterrupted continuation of the already established melodious tones. Once again the use of Internal & slant rhymes are ever present--locate/assimilate ; streams/dreams and rills/fill. All stanzas share the same tones of a nice rhythmic and melodic read.The overall descriptors of the piece offer; an historic account; a soothing remedy; and a redeeming experience. "people will never look at old bridges the same again." SMILE! Thanks for sharing this unique piece with US. TLW
This Poem was Critiqued By: Gerard A Geiger On Date: 2003-11-18 21:33:10
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.75000
Dear Mell; What a wonderful tribute to old bridges and the feelings they engender through their simple marriage of form fit and function in accomplishing their goal while creating an ascetically pleasing structure. Love your use of language with such wonderful descriptors as spumescent (foamy)and spavined spans. It is so great to read how you put in words the comfort, security and soulfulness you find through the experience of old wooden bridges. Your descriptive poem allows the reader to experience the bridge and the streams they span in a harmony of use and function as a natural product of man in his environment. This elevates the poem and the readers bridge experience to a higher plane. A most enjoyable read... I cannot look or think of a wooden bridge without seeing it first through your eyes, Mell. A wonderful poem...Thank you for sharing your heartfelt thoughts and feelings. Always your friend, Gerard
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2003-11-18 20:19:03
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.42857
Hi Mell, You were at the top of my list this evening and I am going to comment on your poem before it disappears!! As usual you have written something so special...took a simple structure such as an 'informal' bridge and gave it beauty and dignity. Your writing skills never cease to amaze me. I like the first stanza..."pleases my senses and eases my spirit" so wonderful to find any element that will accomplish that these days when there is so much bad news. Also I am in love with the phrase..."sheen of a river" that. And the rhyme with ravine is lovely..."the old wooden spavined spans that rattle as I pass" The word 'spavined' (lame) really works here and I would wager that you would be the only one to come up with it! The imagery of the honey- suckel vines is so clear I can almost smell them...I have them in my yard and the aroma is so delicious. In the last stanza I tried to look up 'spumesent' but did not fine it...but spume means to froth so I think you made up the rest...just kidding (ha ha) Of course the ending is perfect as I knew it would be. You become reflective in hopes of taking in the essence of the still and peaceful water. Another winner, Mell, it will certainly be at the top of my list. I was going to e-mail you today to see how you are feeling so maybe you can let me know. Be well and bless you...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Drenda D. Cooper On Date: 2003-11-18 20:13:08
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Mell, I know that you must get tired of my same old rhetoric, but what else can I say ..You have done it again..You can take everyday things and weave a tapestry of wondrous words around it that immediately elevates the subject to new heights. Whether it be music, rivers. bridges, autumn leaves, or any number of subjects --you can take it and make it into poetry that is both beautiful and relevant....and always in your unique style with your uncanny abilitiy to use run-on internal rhyming to the limit without ever sounding trite or forced...You are a wordsmith to the utmost but more than that for your works always have such "heart", as if a part of you flows out and through them to the reader... I think the title was great ..OF course it brought to mind things other than it was effective in drawing the reader to read the poem.. And then, of course, what are bridges for but for getting to the other side...and when one speaks of bridges one can get philosophical and read other levels of meaning into the words..I tend to do that even when the poet does not mean anything but what they have written..Ah, but that is the whole reaaon for poetry is it not? The poet can influence thought itself as it is in the mind of the reader that interpretations abound...and there are as many interpretations of the words as there are readers... "There's something about a bridge that pleases my senses and eases my spirit. Evolved from man's resolve to cross an abyss, ravine, or the sheen of a river, it becomes as sleepless as the water that runs under." Your timing and rhyming are unsurpassable..your use of the English language a marvel...and I remain in awe of your abilities.. There is something about your poetry that "pleases my senses and eases my spirit." The alliterations and sibilance abound, as always, through the entire poem...As below in the second verse ..such unparalleled sibilance with all of the "ss" sounds..Of course, the first verse also, with "cross, abyss, sheen, sleepless... "My favorite bridges are not formal, turreted arches but the old wooden, spavined spans that rattle as I pass. Covered with honeysuckle vines that twine along the railing, they assail with splendid scents. It's said that a bridge assumes most aspects" of the water around it, and serene or spumescent, this perfection of connection elevates my being. My focus then turns inward to locate traits I may assimilate from the streams and rills that fill my dreams." You also use words that are rarely used by others but are so appropriate in their context, form, and richness of meaning, spavined and spumescent... I am sure that many readers make use of their dictionaries and I for one, know that you have increased my vocabulary with your poetry... Another fine example of excellent writing by my favorite poet.............drenda
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