The Bridge Builder

The Bridge Builder

By Will Allen Dromgoole (1860–1934)


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 builder lifted his old gray head;

“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,

“There followed after me to-day

A youth whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm that has been as 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!

I was shown this poem in school recently and it has stuck with me in the back of my mind for the past week or so. The concept of it is a very interesting one, especially at this time of year. The seniors in my high school only have around three days of school left before they graduate. I have always wondered: What motivates them to continue being an active participant in school when they will never be coming back again? Why try to make the school a better place when you won’t be around to see the positive changes occur? This poem is an excellent answer to my questions.

Got any poems that really speak to you? Leave their titles below in the comments!




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