Cologne in the summer, crowds meander through hazy streets
from the cathedral to the bridge, the place where sweethearts meet.
Underneath the heavy arches, love comes to fruition
in a gentle ceremony, a timeless tradition.
The Hohenzollern Bridge over the River Rhine
sighs under the weight of love locks, with promises assigned,
each lock engraved with dates, with initials entwined,
symbols of love immortalised, of hushed vows enshrined,
but the locks sometimes rust as the undercurrent flows,
for passion can’t be shackled as everybody knows.
I stood alone on the bridge, over waters uncharted,
thinking of lovers’ whispers, long since departed,
but the waters became muddied as I heard a commotion:
a woman was drifting on the bridge, wracked with emotion.
Over troubled waters, she searched for her piece of metal.
She eddied back and forwards, nervous and unsettled.
I thought she was a widow looking for love long lost,
hoping to unbolt old memories at any desperate cost.
observed her as she trawled through the metallic sea,
and my eyes turned watery as she clutched her tiny key.
Lock after rusty lock, she struggled to unanchor.
And then it dawned on me that she felt not love but rancor.
I was startled as she let out a wail of exultation,
And removed a battered padlock from its wrought location.
For a fleeting second, I glimpsed the woman sadly shiver,
but then with all her might she thrust the lock into the river.
Revenge was her motive, her true love remained unmourned,
for love hath no greater fury than a woman scorned.
(Photo Credit: Nuala McEvoy)