Learn more about Will Allen Dromgoole at Wikipedia
Will Allen Dromgoole (October 26, 1860 – September 1, 1934) was an author and poet born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She wrote over 7,500 poems; 5,000 essays; and published thirteen books. She was renowned beyond the South; her poem “The Bridge Builder” was often reprinted. It remains quite popular. An excerpt appears on a plaque at the Bellows Falls, Vermont Vilas Bridge, spanning the Connecticut River between southern Vermont and New Hampshire.
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 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!”
Source: Father: An Anthology of Verse (EP Dutton & Company, 1931)