The bridge workers

We will miss then when they leave
The bridge workers
We will miss their high-viz vests
their hard hats
their Stop/Slow signs
Their signals and directions
their walkie-talkie conversations
into the lapels of their jackets

We will miss the legs and eyes of theodolites
the arms of the cranes and the huge hands of the diggers
the rumble of the trucks and the earth-movers
the churning and turning of the concrete mixers
the hiss and the steam and the pungency of fresh asphalt

We will miss the well-laid plans
the diagrams, the blueprints
the knowledge
to cross from one side
to the other

We will miss learning
that you need time
months and months, years
to know the angles and the distances
the surfaces and the tensions
the depths and the curves
the cables and the pillars
the human engineering required
for people to get along
from one side
to the other

We will miss them when they go
When they pack up the pre-fab workers’ huts
the electronic signs
the machinery
the tools
the lunch-boxes

We will miss them when the caravan moves on
to another creek, another river
to a valley, a ravine, a pass

To places where we need structure and guidance
to come and go safely

We will miss them when the bridge is done
The road new and smooth
And we drive without pausing
Without thinking
Of what was won
During that time
We paused obediently
Looking through the windscreen quietly
Waiting
Waiting
Waiting

We will miss them when they leave
The bridge workers
The advocates
The arbitrators
The carers
The counsellors
The midwives
And multitudes of medicos
The musicians
The painters
And artists of all persuasions
The colleagues
The friends
The lovers
The partners
The parents
The mediators
The listeners

We will miss them when they leave.

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