07 Poems

The Bridge Builder

An old man, traveling a lone highway,

Came at 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,

For the sullen stream held no fears for him.

But he turned when he reached the other side,

And building a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man”, cried a fellow pilgrim near,

“You are wasting your strength with building here;

Your journey will end with the closing day, 

And you never again will pass this way. 

You have crossed the chasm deep and wide. 

Why build you a bridge at eventide?”

And the builder lifted his old gray head:

“Good friend, on the path I have come”, 

He said,“There followeth after me today

A youth whose feet must pass this way. 

This stream, which has been as naught to me,

To that fair-haired boy may a pitfall be;

He, too, must cross in the twilight dim-

Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.”

Will Allen Dromcoole

  Here the familiar poem ends—but it didn’t say enough to suit me. Our children grow up in the fast lane where roots are not automatically stimulated and where the challenges to their spiritual development are vastly different from our experiences. So I have taken the liberty to scratch a few lines of my own to complete the poem for our times:

When the youth arrived at the chasm wide,
He scorned the bridge which spanned the tide.
“That bridge is obsolete to me,
I have strength to leap the stream, you see.
“But from my vantage point,” he said,
“I can see that an ocean lies ahead
Which never presented its challenge to you.
So how can you help me see it through?”
The old man listened, then nodded his head.
“You have taught me a lesson today,” he said.
Then traveler and youth worked side by side,
Ripped planks from the bridge
which spanned the tide,
And from these timbers tried and true,
They fashioned a vessel to sail the blue.
Then, driven by winds from the heavens above,
They challenged the ocean together in love.

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/97672Someone asked Luther,“Do you feel that you’ve been forgiven?”

He answered, “No, but I’m as sure as there’s a God in Heaven!

Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God–
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,

  —Martin Luther (1483–1546)




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