The Rainbow Bridge
By Paul C. Dahm
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals that had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…
Summary of The Rainbow Bridge
- Popularity of “The Rainbow Bridge”: Written by a psychological counselor, Paul C. Dahm, this beautiful poem stipulates the place where pets go after they leave the world of their masters. However, it first appeared in 1998 though Paul C. Dahm penned down this poem and several others in this series back in 1981. The book appeared in print format in 1998, after which it became an instant hit for pet lovers who lost their pets but could not reconcile with the reality of the deaths of their pet animals. Paul C. Man has created an imaginary place where, according to him, pets go, and they meet their masters once both are there and love each other. The popularity of the poem lies in this description of the love of the pet and the master.
- “The Rainbow Bridge” As a Representative of Comforting Consolation: After presenting the comforting title, The Rainbow Bridge, Paul C. Dahm goes on to state that this place is located inside heaven. Then he continues with the rest that when an animal dies, it goes straight to the Rainbow Bridge, which is a paradise with meadows, food, sunshine, and warm places. He also outlines how the animals live in peace, enjoyment, and luxury but adds that they play and run together when the owner has the chance to meet his animal there when he himself goes there. The scene that he creates about the love of the master and the pet makes the readers understand how losing a pet is a discomforting incident. The speaker then goes on to end the poetic narrative by saying that all this happens only when the readers or the pet owners cross the Rainbow Bridge and meet their pets.
- Major Themes in “The Rainbow Bridge”: Pet love, pet consolation, and counseling of the grieving masters are three major thematic strands of the poem “The Rainbow Bridge.” The poet has beautifully used his narrative skills in presenting the poetic output about an issue that has been a long due topic of poetry. Pet lovers often miss this type of counseling when they lose their pets. This is the consolation for pet lovers and animal lovers to come to know that their pets live in luxury and that they will meet them when they would depart this world. The idea of the Rainbow Bridge in heaven presents the poet’s perceptions about this world, the world hereafter, and the argument of counseling in which it plays its part. The grieving masters often feel comfortable after going through this poem with the hope that they will finally meet their pets.
Analysis of Literary Devices Used in The Rainbow Bridge
- Allusion: It means to cite references from history, literature, and culture to stress something. The poem shows the use of religious allusions, such as heaven, and fantasy, such as the Rainbow Bridge.
- Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /a/ and /o/ in “When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge” and the sound of /o/ in “All the animals that had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor..”
- Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession, such as the sound of /f/ in “friend finally.”
- Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /m/ in “Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by” and the sound of /s/ in “They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.”
- Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. Paul C. Dahm has used imagery in this poem, such as “They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance”, “His bright eyes are intent” and “His eager body quivers.”
- Irony: Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. For example, the situational irony lies in the fact that the man would be alive, and yet he would enter heaven. The poet mistook this fact that the readers would understand once they have gone through the poem.
- Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. The poem shows symbols, such as the Rainbow Bridge, death, animals, meadows, and hills to show the existence of paradise.
Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in The Rainbow Bridge
Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.
- Diction: It means the type of language. The poem shows very good use of formal and narrative diction.
- Narrative Verses: It means the use of poetry in narrative language using any semblance of poetic elements, such as rhyming scheme or meter. This poem is a narrative poem.
- Repetition: This poem shows the repetition of some specific ideas, such as the Rainbow Bridge, animal death, and enjoyment, to pinpoint its main idea of counseling.
- Tone: It means the voice of the text. The poem shows a didactic, optimistic, and rejuvenating tone.
Quotes to be Used
The following lines are useful to quote when consoling a pet lover whose pet has recently died.
All the animals that had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.