At last the mighty task is done;
Resplendent in the western sun
The Bridge looms mountain high;
Its titan piers grip ocean floor,
Its great steel arms link shore with shore,
Its towers pierce the sky.
On its broad decks in rightful pride,
The world in swift parade shall ride,
Throughout all time to be;
Beneath, fleet ships from every port,
Vast landlocked bay, historic fort,
And dwarfing all—the sea.
To north, the Redwood Empire's gates;
To south, a happy playground waits,
in Rapturous appeal;
Here nature, free since time began,
Yields to the restless moods of man,
Accepts his bonds of steel.
Launched midst a thousand hopes and fears,
Damned by a thousand hostile sneers,
Yet ne'er its course was stayed,
But ask of those who met the foe
Who stood alone when faith was low,
Ask them the price they paid.
Ask of the steel, each strut and wire,
Ask of the searching, purging fire,
That marked their natal hour;
Ask of the mind, the hand, the heart,
Ask of each single, stalwart part,
What gave it force and power.
An Honored cause and nobly fought
And that which they so bravely wrought,
Now glorifies their deed,
No selfish urge shall stain its life,
Nor envy, greed, intrigue, nor strife,
Nor false, ignoble creed.
High overhead its lights shall gleam,
Far, far below life's restless stream,
Unceasingly shall flow;
For this was spun its lithe fine form,
To fear not war, nor time, nor storm,
For Fate had meant it so.
Many thanks to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District
for their permission to share this poem.
Joseph Baermann Strauss (1870 –1938) was born in Ohio. His mother was a concert pianist, his father a writer and painter. Joseph graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in civil engineering, and was named poet and president of the Class of 1892. Joseph became interested in bridges during an illness that gave him a view of a suspension bridge from his hospital room. He was particularly interested in drawbridges and ultimately engineered a revolutionary design for moveable-span bridges. While Joseph designed a number of bridges in the course of his career, he is best known for his work on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge; a statue honoring his contributions is located near the bridge.
In the dark times of the Great Depression the bridge was conceived and built. A bridge, not a wall. What a wonderful poem, an achievement worthy of pride.
Posted 05/27/2019 01:40 PM
Great achievement, it shows what a fully educated and skilled person can produce. Never thought about who engineered the Goden Gate bridge. Thanks.
Posted 05/27/2019 12:34 PM
Admire Strauss' skill in sustaining his wonderful rhyme-scheme capturing, as he does, all the turmoil and triumph of a project I knew so little about! Thank you.
Posted 05/27/2019 08:28 AM
I?m in awe. To have poetry integrated into the very warp and woof of this vital connection is astounding. It brings to mind also the walls vs. bridges metaphor for how we solve societal problems. Thanks for posting this, Jayne.
Posted 05/27/2019 06:57 AM