Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Bridge

for G E who crossed over it many times

I was there
As a boy
And followed its progress
Observed the erection

Rivet by rivet
Girder by girder
By section

With fingers inched out
Widnes to Runcorn
Runcorn to Widnes
To meet in the middle

Over wide Mersey waters
The arch great and graceful
Has always been green
And strong as clenched hands

An icon
A landmark

Named simply The Bridge

Which men now maintain
By removal of rust
Addition of paint
And widening of space

Unsuccessful attempts have been made to name and rename The Bridge (which replaced The Transporter Bridge) as Jubilee Bridge, Silver Jubilee Bridge, Runcorn-Widnes Bridge, Widnes-Runcorn Bridge, or even Halton Bridge. But The Bridge has always stood valiantly steadfast and firm. It refuses to kowtow to bureaucratic officialdom. The proud sign on Runcorn Expressway states boldly and loudly, lest there be any misunderstanding - THE BRIDGE.
Local people will not have it any other way! I was one of those there, a child dutifully waving his flag on a stick in return for half a day off school on the day when royalty came and The Bridge was officially opened. And like most in the crowd lining the route for the one who came late I knew even then that the Bridge would always be and always remain The Bridge.
image: courtesy of BBC.


  1. lovely memories invoked (I also used to cross it every day when I worked in runcorn and in widnes during my years in england - before retiring)

  2. Thanks for the dedication - when going to Liverpool we always preferred the M56 and over "The Bridge" rather than the quicker M62.

  3. John, I'm pleased you had 'lovely memories'!

    Gerald, re the dedication - it's a pleasure!

    I've finally tinkered it perfection. At least, I think I have.

  4. Gwilym, there is so much power in this poem: the bridge, the river, the maintenance men. I enjoyed the images, and since Eddie Waring passed away I have not felt such poetry in the word Widnes!

  5. Thank you Gordon.
    Eddie was a wondeful character a unique Rugby commentator on TV. In the locality we were spoilt for choice - 'The Chemics' - Widnes', 'The Wires' - Warrington, and St. Helens - 'The Saints', not tomention teams a little further afield such as Wigan and Leigh. A real hotbed of beery sweat and funny shaped balls! I wonder if Eddie's on You Tube? You never know...

  6. and I still watch rugby league every week (on telly)

  7. Hi John,
    Unfortunately we don't get rugby (league or union) on TV out here, except internationals in the Irish pubs. It's all about skiing as you might imagine. Some days there's 10 hours of skiing on TV. I played rugby for the school team for 5 years.
    When I was about 17 or 18 I was advised to go for a trial at Warrington but I never went. I had safe hands (for a forward) but not the bulk. So there was no point and I knew it.

  8. Like the poem: it's Anglo Saxon-like rhythm is very effective.

    Still have a transporter bridge over on this side of the country, across the Tees. Went on it once.

  9. Dominic, many thanks. Apropos your side of the country I've just had an email from Steve Cram (well, not really from him but you you get my drift) that Britain's "most beautiful marathon' will take place on 9th October 2011 at Kielder. Something for you perhaps? I remember you got injured in training and had to drop out of the Snowdon.

  10. ps- Dominic, when does the wilderness swimming season start?

  11. I have only crossed over it once Gwilym as it is an area I don't know very well.

    Have you read my post about The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal? If you haven't done so I do urge you to read this excellent book - there is a huge section about Vienna in it - it is fascinating - I kept thinking how much you would like it.

  12. Pat, many thanks, I'll get to it as soon as the time permits,
    best wishes,

  13. Pau, many thanks, and lovely to get a visitor from Argentina!


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