Granite and Steel
Workers scaling one of the cables on the Brooklyn Bridge,
Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, 1881,
from PBS Big Buildings and
The Museum of the City of New York Print Archives
Harper's Monthly Opening Day 1883
Enfranchising cable, silvered by the sea,
of woven wire, grayed by the mist,
and Liberty dominate the Bay-
her feet as one on shattered chains,
once whole links wrought by Tyranny.
Caged Circe of steel and stone,
her parent German ingenuity.
"O catenary curve" from tower to pier,
implacable enemy of the mind's deformity,
of man's uncompunctious greed
his crass love of crass priority
obstructing acquiescent feet
about to step ashore when darkness fell
without a cause,
as if probity had not joined our cities
in the sea.
"O path amid the stars
crossed by the seagull's wing!"
"O radiance that doth inherit me!"
—affirming inter-acting harmony!
Untried expedient, untried; then tried;
way out; way in; romantic passageway
first seen by the eye of the mind,
then by the eye. O steel! O stone!
Climactic ornament, a double rainbow,
as if inverted by French perspicacity,
John Roebling's monument,
German tenacity's also;
composite span—an actuality.
The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore
New York: Macmillan, 1966