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Scott Edward Anderson



Between now and now, between I am and you are, the word bridge.
Octavio Paz


The bridge arcs over the stream
connecting more than just the banks.

The bridge connects water as water
connects the banks. They begin to emerge
as the bridge crosses the stream.

The bridge brings together
the expanse of landscape
extending beyond each bank—

Water may drift beneath the bridge
or be lathered by floods.

The bridge is braced for the sky and weather.
Ice floes move under the bridge the way life flows.


The city bridge connects commerce
with marketplace, exchanging goods and ideas.

The old stone bridge crosses an unassuming brook,
providing passage from field to village.

The floating bridge brings enlightenment to Pliny’s raven—
weight crossing displaces water determining volume.

The highway bridge creates a long-distance network,
making “remote” seem obsolete.

The suspension bridge proves nothing about human ingenuity,
only that tension combs strength from chaos.

The covered bridge is a repository for memory,
neither building nor dwelling.

The bridge between two people is within two people,
the way a river flows without acknowledging the bridge—

Bridges connect and combine, cross and current,
the way words connect lovers over distance and time.



bridging 2 (gathering)

Say that the bridge is a location,
the way a bridge brings together the banks of a river—
                                    (Okay, the bridge gathers…)

There are many spaces along the river
that can be occupied by something.

                                    (Something, anything…?)

One of these spaces proves to be a location
and does so because of the bridge.

                                    (So Heidegger asserts…)

Say that the bridge does not come to be a location,
but location comes into being by virtue of the bridge—

                                    (Do we really agree with that?)

The way points on a map are described by naming, by symbols;
the way mapping becomes an organized presencing.

                                    (Shall we gather at the river…)

When we speak of human beings and space
we do not mean human beings on one side,

                                    (The river, the beautiful river…)

space on the other—
The bridge gathers, uniting the banks of our river.
                                    (Our beautiful, beautiful river…)




More delicate than the historians’ are the map-makers’ colors.
                                                                    — Elizabeth Bishop

A boundary is where something begins,
spaces formed by locations.
Mapping is building spaces
and locations, as it is made.

Nature’s boundaries
defined by interconnections,
and geophysical fact
not geopolitical friction—

Aspect, climate, elevation,
land forms and bodies of water,
aggregation of species,
watershed divides,
soil, time, bedrock, strata,
and shifting—

of this we are certain:
boundaries are always shifting.
(Only Man tries to deny this,
imposing order where chaos rules.)

Say that boundaries
are the beginning,
where things start,
not the end-point;
say boundaries are a beginning,
one among many.

Mapping delineates spaces
and locations through form.
Each boundary,
while defining the end
of shaped space,
is also a beginning.



Scott Edward Andersonhas been a Concordia Fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts, and received both the Nebraska Review Award and the Aldrich Emerging Poets Award. He writes the popular blog, the green skeptic: blogging the new green economy, and is famous... on the Internet. These poems are part of a sequence called "dwelling: an ecopoem."
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