Granite and Steel

Workers on Brooklyn Bridge brkbrdg1.jpg (30193 bytes)

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

 

Brooklyn Bridge Harper's brkbrdg1.jpg (30193 bytes)

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
      just recently
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.

Marianne Moore
The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore
New York: Macmillan, 1966

silver bullet Brooklyn Bridge at PBS Big Buildings in Wonders of the World: vintage photos, abstract, comparison with other bridges

silver bullet Harper's Monthly articles and illustrations at the time of construction and opening of the Brooklyn Bridge

silver bullet Virtual Tour of Brooklyn Bridge: photos and facts from a tourist office

silver bullet Brooklyn Bridge 9/11/2001 at romDog .com

for educational purposes only
developed and copyright ©1996 by
D. Reiss
modified and copyright ©20 February 2005 by
D. Reiss