The Warning from the Toll man on the Bridge over the Tranquil River
Be careful taking your first step on the wooden bridge at night,
The dark abyss may entice the careless away from the light,
The serpentine wind will tease and tempt you to give up the fight,
“I warn you, now; the risk is far more than it seems at first sight.”
Some lost souls are made of stronger thread and will not heed the call,
They laugh and run straight out ignoring the risk and the fall,
Rash soldiers who trade a pound of caution for an ounce of gall,
“I warn them of the danger but they do not hear me at all.”
The old dry wood here is rotten and can easily splinter,
I saw a whole family, fall, as if they didn’t matter,
Death waits here and all it needs is another beam to shatter.
“I warn everyone but some take my words as useless chatter.”
I remember well the lovers; oh they were full of mischief,
Adam wanted to meet Eve on the bridge and sneak off like a thief,
Adam was in such a hurry their encounter was very brief.
“It was joyful to hear them promise a love beyond belief.”
Joan was a beautiful young girl, who had lovely words to weave,
“Come my handsome Prince; escort me to heaven, and by your leave,
I will beg your pardon and find the grace to attend your sleeve.”
“What sad alchemy does love perform when faithful hearts believe?”
I recall Mathew, a lively man who crossed the bridge with cheer,
“There isn’t much of a vision when the darkened clouds appear,
I prefer to stoke the fire than watch the Sun disappear.”
“ But when the fire was out he huddled near the bridge in fear.”
I saw, sad old Mark chase a butterfly and fall to his fate,
He had bright colours in his eyes and a gazelle in his gait,
He was too good for this bridge , and fell, and drowned in waves of hate.
“Beware this bridge will silence both the humble and the great.”
I remember my old friend Luke who had his head in the skies,
He told me that the voices spoke to him of secret truths and lies,
I saw him climb over the edge, here, and hang on to the ties,
He held on bravely but soon the visions faded from his eyes.
So I must warn the blind men, to be careful who they follow,
To walk in grace and spare a thought for the ones who lay below,
To be able to cross is easy, there is little to know.
“Walk freely over this ancient bridge but pay me as you go.”