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The Iron Bridge Tongwynlais Nr. Cardiff

Updated: Aug 1, 2023


It seemed a thousand years since last I stood on the bridge,

Looking, though not seeing what I see today.

Beneath me, under the broken, wooden planks on which I stood

I watched a black, matt mass, in flow, carrying the dark sweat

Of valley men, long imprisoned in Earth’s bowels.

Could life exist in this tarry filth, wending its way relentlessly to the sea?

Neither did I see the gossamer, iron lacework wrought by human hand.

Nor wonder how man could shape such beauty in an iron bridge.

Then, all my eyes surveyed was just a bridge over the Taff,

Merely two crude walkways straddling parallel iron tracks.

Then, looking upstream, I had missed the colors that abounded:

The red, precipitous face of the gorge, annunciating the valley ahead.

Clothed in vibrant hues of the ever changing leaves.

I felt no remorse for the loss of life that for years had spawned there.

I was not shamed for the filth that man had caused to flow,

Marring the beauty of the life that swam beneath that iron bridge.

But, today I saw with new eyes all I had missed a life ago.

Today, beneath me the black mass had been transformed.

A transparent, sparkling river had been born since last I was there.

Dazed by the beauty of the network of iron threads around me,

I looked up and saw the grandness of the magnificent folly,

Castell Coch, standing on guard, a sentry, high above the river.

I could see for the first time, with the same yet different eyes

I perceived the beauty and the wonder of the iron bridge.

Below is a photograph of the River Taff, and the castle in the background, but, yes you’ve guessed, the photograph was taken from the Iron Bridge. If any enjoy good walks, and are in the area of Cardiff which is just five miles north of the village where I was born, and lived until I was 22, you could do nothing better than to visit the pretty and interesting folly, Castell Coch, Red Castle, built on the site off the first castle built by the Normans after 1081 to protect the newly conquered town of Cardiff and control the route along the Taff Gorge. This gorge is the entrance to the valleys ahead. In 1954 the film, The Black Knight was made using the castle as one of its locations.


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3 comentários


Stephen Kingsnorth
Stephen Kingsnorth
31 de jul. de 2023

I like it... the scene, its story, and your awareness come alive with some great references and vocabulary!

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Valerie Bowden
Valerie Bowden
02 de ago. de 2023
Respondendo a

Glad you enjoyed it. That’s what poems are for, — to share!

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