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Weekly Poem: ‘Half-Finished Bridge’

By Jim Tilley

No important work to do today, I think,
as I lie in the hammock one last time
before storing it for winter,
just a few chores around the yard —
deck chairs to be stacked and stashed away
and the lawn raked despite the pears
and oaks hanging on to their green.

Stamped on the pencil I’m using,
first snow falling on the half-finished bridge,
now as in Basho’s time,
the halfway done possibly a road
to nowhere, like the wars we shouldn’t start
and the marriages we can’t finish.
But he must’ve meant that I find myself

amidst the season’s first flurries,
leaves collecting at my feet
as I rock in the wind, writing to my father
that I’m grateful he’s still alive
and there’s time to erect the rest of the trestle
and walk together to the other side,
light snow falling on our backs.


Jim Tilley is the author of the poetry collection, “In Confidence.” His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and have won several awards.

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