Take a bridge

Bridges are endlessly fascinating. They link banks of a river, countries, offer the scope for escape or to reach a new destination. Their construction is sometimes improbable, giving the idea of hanging in space. Let’s take the idea of a bridge as pensive inspiration. Here are a few photos to help you develop your ideas for a story. 


  1. Great prompts, Gail. Bridges are so evocative.
    Here’s my Pensive:

    Feel the Fear
    Footsteps behind me. From the bridge, the sun set is mirrored in the river. Normally I would stop to admire crimson shards on the water but not now. The tread is uneven, laboured, heavier on one foot: a limp. His breathing raspy, and short.
    Turn around, face your fears. Isn’t that why you’re spending all that money on therapy. Go to the emotion, don’t run away from it! An older voice, the one that wants to protect me says, zone out, pretend it isn’t happening. Like when I was little.
    Cyclists whoosh by and I want to shout HELP. Can’t you see I’m in danger?
    Concrete steps down from the bridge and then onto the dyke that stretches the length of the river. Behind me: ka donk, ka donk, ka donk on the steps. I smell stale tobacco, unwashed maleness, imagine spongy fingers on my neck.
    Run! he can’t catch you, he’s lame. I puff out my rib-cage, like I used to when I ran in the 100 yards race at school. Tense my legs ready for that burst of energy. I sprint from orange halo of light to orange halo of light and then the pain like an iron fist punches me in the stomach. I’m winded, unfit, too old to run. The breath won’t come and I gasp for air like a stranded fish. I hang onto a lamppost, lean my forehead against the cool metal. Behind me silence. I must have outrun him. I turn to look. On the bridge a figure climbs up onto the metal railing and grasps a steel cable supporting the uprights. He looks down into the water and sways forward. As fast as my racing heart will allow, I run the other way, towards the man, towards my fear.

  2. Hi Angela,
    I love this. I’m sure we have all been through this. The pounding heart when you think someone is following and the fight or flight response of the body.
    Beautifully written and very evocative. I could feel my heart pounding as I read it.

  3. Bridges can be beautiful, but some can be scary.

    Some rise majestically but the wobbly ones make you wary.

    The Golden Gate in San Fransisco is wondrous to behold.

    And when the sun breaks through the fog it glitters just like gold.

    Bridges feature often in films and songs. There’s

    Bridge over the River Kwai

    London Bridge is falling down

    Bridge over Troubled Waters

    A Bridge too far

    And so the list goes on.

    My favourite is the Forth railway bridge. Its cantilevered splendour spans the Firth, and it unites the two coastlines in three giant steps.

    It holds precious memories of going on summer holidays by train. Clutching my bucket and spade, I knew that crossing the bridge was taking us closer to our beach holiday. In these days train windows could be opened and when we were halfway across the bridge, we would throw a ha’penny out of the window for luck. Is the seabed littered with ha’pennies or has some enterprising diver gathered them up and hopefully given the hoard to charity?

  4. Lovely poem, Patricia, and the prose is so poignant. Why did we toss coins really? Maybe a subject for another muse. I wonder if the fascination for bridges is caused by the fact they seem like portals to other worlds? You were heading to your summer holiday when time would take on a different feel. I always had that sensation of entering a very different world when crossing the Severn Bridge in and out of Wales. Thankfully now it’s free!

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