Friday, December 02, 2011

Poetry Friday -- Building Bridges

The Bridge Builder
by Will Allen Dromgoole

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 your 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 this bridge at evening tide?”

(The answer to the fellow pilgrim's question is here, at the Poetry Foundation.)

Carol has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Carol's Corner.


  1. Love that sullen stream, and the old man's unexpected kindness.

  2. P.S. I can take Feb 10 on the PF Roundup, if it's still available. Thank you for maintaining the PF Calendar!

  3. An unexpected kindness, yes, but so applicable to today and building for the future generation (or not . . .)

    Good choice, Mary Lee!

    Janet over at The Write Sisters

  4. Thank you for this lovely poem, Mary Lee.

    It reminds me of another poem about the connections between us all, and between the past and the future. I like to include it in birthday cards.


    The builder who first bridged Niagara’s gorge,
    Before he swung his cable, shore to shore,
    Sent out across the gulf his venturing kite
    Bearing a slender cord for unseen hands
    To grasp upon the further cliff and draw
    A greater cord, and then a greater yet;
    Till at the last across the chasm swung
    The cable then the mighty bridge in air!

    So we may send our little timid thought
    Across the void, out to God’s reaching hands –
    Send out our love and faith to thread the deep –
    Thought after thought until the little cord
    Has greatened to a chain no chance can break,
    And we are anchored to the Infinite!

    ~ Edwin Markham (1852-1940), American poet

  5. Lovely thought for all of us in these economic times, to look to the future for the children. I had a distant relative who well into his 80's planted many trees on his farm. When others asked why, he would answer things like "for those who'd like a hammock in the lazy summer days" and so on. Your poem reminded me of this kind & thoughtful man.

  6. Anonymous1:12 PM

    This reminds me of the proverb about planting trees so others can sit in the shade. Few of us think of ourselves as that selfless... yet I'll bet we make similar small gestures more often than we realize.

    Beautiful poem and photo.

  7. Anonymous4:05 PM

    Great message for readers today. Thanks for sharing this one. I'd love to host PF some week. Anything dates still open in Feb or March, or later? (My Dec. and Jan. uncertain as far as scheduling.)

  8. Mary Lee, Am I too new a participant to host? I see that you have the end of May or June still open. If you believe I should wait a bit, I certainly will. I've been enjoying these Fridays, but haven't participated very long.

  9. Mary Lee, I haven't seen this poem for a long time. Thank you for helping me remember it. It carries a beautiful thought.

  10. I've never seen this poem before - it's beautiful. It reminds me a bit of Abou Ben Adam, that was one of the very first poems I ever learned - probably becasue it has the same kind of sonorous conversational voice.

    If that date at the end of June is still going, we'd love to host Poetry Friday at PaperTigers.

  11. Martha,
    The last two open dates have now been filled! The good news -- EVERY date is open in July-Dec 2012!! :-) Stay tuned in June when I put out the next call for roundup hosts!

    The only time I'd think it would be too soon for you to volunteer to host is if you had not participated AT ALL!! It's the new voices that keep PF fresh and vibrant each week! Welcome!

    You're in!

  12. Thanks, Mary Lee. I'm excited!

  13. Beautiful post and poem, Mary Lee! We'll never be able to thank all those who built bridges we now cross; hopefully we can build one or two ourself, like the kind old man here.

  14. PS - Just saw elsewhere in Poetry Friday World that you have a birthday soon - Is it tomorrow? HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :0)


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