Bridge Poem Video

Sometimes a photos can’t give a complete impression of public art. I have finally gotten around to uploading the video I took some days back of walking across the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge in Minneapolis and looking at the John Ashbery poem on the lintels.  The video is 3 minutes and shows the spoon sculpture in the sculpture park before crossing the bridge east to Loring Park. You can see the poem start on the left of the bridge, then somewhere in the middle of the bridge you can see the poetry lines on the other side for people crossing the bridge from east to west.

The camera is a bit shaky going up the stairs due to arthritic knees–I was taking the video with my left hand while hoisting myself with the handrail. I suppose I should really claim runner’s knee, which it is, since an athletic overuse injury sounds so much more glamorous than mere aging. Then I rushed a bit to get across–the bridge is not particularly pleasant for those who don’t like bridges. The video doesn’t show a clear view of all the lines, so here is the poem again:

And now I cannot remember how I would
have had it. It is not a conduit (confluence?) but a place.
The place, of movement and an order.
The place of old order.
But the tail end of the movement is new.
Driving us to say what we are thinking.
It is so much like a beach after all, where you stand
and think of going no further.
And it is good when you get to no further.
It is like a reason that picks you up and
places you where you always wanted to be.
This far, it is fair to be crossing, to have crossed.
Then there is no promise in the other.
Here it is. Steel and air, a mottled presence,
small panacea
and lucky for us.
And then it got very cool.

John Ashbery

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