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In honor of National Poetry Month, John shares his favorite poem and explains what it means for us today.

What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.-Albert Pike

One of my favorite poems is titled The Bridge Builder and was written by Will Allen Dromgoole. This poem challenges us to realize we can make a mighty difference regardless of our age. It prompts us to look for opportunities to empower others to achieve greatness in their lives.

And it reminds us that, despite mighty needs in the world today- and there are many- the time has never been better to knock down walls that separate in order to build up bridges that unite.

This poem gives me pause to appreciate the individuals who elevate my life and reminds me of my own opportunity to do likewise for others.

Here’s the poem:

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 builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me today,
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!”

My friend, we’ve all been fortunate to have others build bridges for us. They believed in us before we believed in ourselves, guided us when we lost our way, or propelled us forward when we were stuck.

Whether parents, guardians, siblings, teachers, rabbis, bosses, friends, children or absolute strangers, in thoughtfully doing so, they permitted us to rise up, take the next right step, and continue forward.

Today, let’s pause and give thanks to those who came, who risked, who built and who invested in us. We certainly could not have “crossed the chasm vast and deep and wide” without them.

And today, in their honor, let’s pay it forward. Remember there are many more following that may struggle crossing. Let’s seek opportunities to build bridges for them, too.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

11 replies on “The Bridge Builder”

John
Thank you for always finding inspiring thoughts to guide us. You help so many of us to see the greater good.

I love this poem, now too! I grew up without material resources, but a mind that God blessed with excellent memory and computational ability. I relish to recognize the places where bridges were built for me by people who didn’t know me, but they knew I was coming! I will cherish this poem forever and share it as you have done today.

It reminds me of a friend at Edward Jones, Jim McKenzie, who has planted more than 1000 trees in his life. When I asked him why, he said, “Because I have enjoyed the fruit and the shade of trees others have planted before me.”

Thank God for the many Bridge Builders in my life. I am eager to “Pay It Forward” daily building bridges for others every chance I get.

John,
I especially like the passage:“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me today,
A youth whose feet must pass this way.”
Remind me that we may not see the fruits of our labor but still we must build to move forward regardless. Thanks for sharing with us this poem today so we can continue to live a life inspired.

John, I especially like the passage:“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me today,
A youth whose feet must pass this way.”
Remind me that we may not see the fruits of our labor but still we must build to move forward regardless. Thanks for sharing with us this poem today so we can continue to live a life inspired.

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