Locks would seem to point to bondage. Or security. Or exclusivity. No Romantic ever wrote, “My love is like an old rusty lock that’s never sprung in June…”
The token may be an inverse metaphor for true love to some, but I think they are one of the ways we write significance. The brassy glittering array of locks on the bridges over the Seine, with the keys thrown into the water, says something about ritual and wanting to be remembered. They’re the urban version of carving initials in an old oak tree. I don’t take the locks literally. I see them as bookmarks to brain maps. They make a folk art pageantry by the charm of their variety of styles and degree of weathering.
To me they are statements, like poems, that only the key knows. What heart thoughts hovered there as the shackle bolted into the body? What worries with the certainties?
When I studied the array of locks up close I wondered if the people who had placed them would ever return? Would they come together traipsing up the bridge flooring homing to their bit of hardware? Would only one return?
Sometimes words will be scrolled into oblivion, or lost in journals, or never mailed. These ornaments along the railing are each a line, or a poem…or at least the promise of one.
Even our pageantry is sometimes writing.