Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Bridge Builder

A local school district vocational coach mentioned this poem during a meeting last week. It's a good one.

The Bridge Builder

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again will pass this way;
You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you this bridge at the evening tide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him."

The Bridge Builder is a poem written by the acclaimed author Will Allen Dromgoole (1860-1934). "The Bridge Builder" is often reprinted and remains quite popular. It has even graced plaques on real bridges such as the Bellows Falls--Vilas Bridge in Connecticut. It continues to be quoted frequently, usually in a religious context or in writings stressing a moral lesson. It is also a favorite of motivational speakers.

"The Bridge Builder" is also used by many Fraternities to promote the idea of building links for the future and passing the torch along for the next generation.

It was possibly first published in 1900 in the now-rare book A Builder. By 1931 Ms. Dromgoole had published thirteen books, 7,500 poems and 5,000 columns of essays, making her one of the most prolific of Tennessee writers. More about her can be read at

The poem is quoted in its entirety, as it appears in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Reprinted with blanket permission of Wikipedia.

No comments: