I walked the Bridge of Sighs
To wander among
Marble figures adrift in autumn mist
And tombstones protruding from damp soil
Like rotten teeth in a giant creature's jaw.
Time has gnawed at the white marble face
Of the rich merchant's wife
Resting forever on a white marble slab.
Hopeful eyes turned heavenward
Will never see the drapes of her dress
Forever hugging immaculate breasts
Blackened by time.
Here on this misty hill over the sleeping city
I cannot help but see
The beauty that lies in decay.
This glimpse of the Sublime
That would have moved Wordsworth and Coleridge
To burst into song.
Yet, when I crossed my own bridge of sighs
Adrift in a mist of incomprehension
Grief on my shoulders
Like a white marble slab
There was no beauty.
Eyes fixed on the ground
Where you will rest forever
As they lower the coffin into damp soil
Showering it with hopeful flowers.
Helpless hugs in black.
Trying to fight all thoughts of decay
Blackening your white marble skin
Time like a giant creature's jaws
Gnawing at your flesh.
Does it take a marble monument
For somebody to stop
At your eternal beauty
And burst into song?
Necropolis is an old cemetery on a hill close to Glasgow Cathedral. The main entrance is approached by a bridge over what was then the Molendinar Burn. The bridge, which was designed by James Hamilton, was completed in 1833. It became known as the "Bridge of Sighs" because it was part of the route of funeral processions (the name is an allusion to the Bridge of Sighs in Venice).