Sunday, April 13, 2014

National Poetry Month 13 of 30: Sky Walking

This morning I wandered over to Mary Lee's blog where she is writing about the wonders of the world each day.  Today's poem was about the Golden Gate Bridge.  This object has connected two places since 1937.  Our family visited the bridge several years ago.  It just takes your breath away.

When I read Mary Lee's poem, I thought I'd give one a try in her comments.  I thought I was going to write about the beauty of the bridge when you see it or maybe the way it connects two worlds.  Yet, as I researched a bit, my attention kept returning to the men.  Why did those men choose to do such dangerous work?  I thought about Eve Bunting's book, Pop's Bridge.  Then I found this PBS page about The Men Who Build the Bridge and I read about the "halfway to hell club" and it's 19 members who survived a fall from the bridge thanks to the special safety net so I tried this….

Photograph via Golden Gate Bridge
Sky Walking

I try not to look down
at the rushing saltwater below.
It's harder to climb now
that I fight the memory;
the memory of climbing,
holding onto cables,
of placing my feet firmly
against the steel.

But it was foggy that day,
and hard to see;
the steel slippery like ice.
I worked against
the wind
as it tried to grab me.
A sudden gust
caught me off guard,
my feet, not firmly planted,
failed me.
I reached,
my hand unable to grasp.

My mind raced
as I tumbled
head over heel,
heel over head.
It was a second
and an hour
all at the same time.
I thought about my family,
my wife begged me
not to take this job,
but we needed the money,
our children needed to eat.

Suddenly I felt something
breaking my fall.
I hit hard,
but crisscrossed arms
surrounded me.
The net.
The beautiful net
saved my life.

I've been "halfway to hell"
yet still I climb
and pray.
Trying not to notice
the saltwater

© Cathy L. Mere  2014

April is National Poetry Month.  Again this year, inspired by Mary Lee Hahn, I'm joining other poetry bloggers (view links in sidebar) taking the challenge to share poetry each day during the month of April.  For thirty days my hope is to write a new poem each day.  The first two years I took this challenge I wrote any poem that found me.  This year, however, I've decided to try to write a poem about an object each day.  If you've read Billy Collins' poem, The Lanyard, you may have noticed the way he took an object to tell a much more meaningful story of his relationship with his mother.  My hope is to find the deeper significance in the things around me.


  1. Oh, my... I am sure your poem is more fact than fiction!! Very well written, "as usual"....

  2. That "halfway to hell club" caught my eye, too!

    Thank you for letting me "hear" the voice of one of the workers!

  3. I loved this over at Mary Lee's place - and I love it here. This really got me thinking too. The things people must do to earn a living are so scary sometimes...this poem also makes me very grateful.


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