Many of the pieces concern love: “Love/Tells me/Closeness/Is ecstasy/Let’s be.” While Bridges occasionally touches on relationships, Burns never delves into familiar topics like lost love or the search for love, instead focusing on appreciating the love that is, on enjoying a moment despite its ephemeral nature. He urges readers “Take time to cherish/And understand/The love/At hand.” Despite the brevity of these poems—“Truly” contains just three words, “Be/See/Eternity” —they illuminate the author’s dedication to Buddhism and the Tao.
Burns divides the work into four parts: Aerial, Suspension, Crossing, and Banks, each accompanied by photographs that often feature bridges in natural surroundings. The images pair well with the contemplative aesthetic of his poetry, and the photographic architecture reinforces the idea of “Be/Here/Be/Now/Blissful/Tao.” Though some of the elements feel repetitive, the pacing and crispness of the lines prevents them from becoming tiresome. The tone in these brief but rich pieces is comforting, with a warm voice advocating contemplation and self-love (“Whatever you do/Don’t hesitate/To celebrate/You”). In these tumultuous times, Burns’s poems offer a peaceful refuge for those who want to be immersed in the natural world while simultaneously looking inside themselves.
Takeaway: This succinct collection is an invitation to meditate on and appreciate the presence of love and the beauty of the natural world.
Great for fans of: Gary Snyder, A.S. Kline.
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