Thursday, March 1, 2012

English poem - The bridge builder

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 fears 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 strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide –
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been 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 the bridge for him.
                                                            - Will Allen Dromgoole

(Will Allen Dromgoole (1860-1934),was born in Tennessee.
She had published thirteen books, 7,500 poems and 5,000 columns
of essays, making her one of the most prolific of Tennessee writers.)

lone                          /l@Un                     /      - all alone
chasm                       /k{zm                      /       - a deep, narrow opening inrock or ice
sullen                        /sVl@n                   /      - in an unhappy mood
tide                           /taId                       /      - the alternate rising and falling of the sea
twilight                      /'twaIlaIt                /       - darkness setting in the evening
span                          /sp**                    /       - distance between two points,especially time
eventide                     /I:vntaId               /       - (here) old age
naught                        /nO:t                   /       - nothing
pitfall                         /'pItfO:l                /        - an unexpected difficulty.


I. Answer the following questions:
1. How did the old man cross the chasm?
2. What did the fellow pilgrim ask the old man?
3. What is the old man’s reply to the pilgrim?

1. Do you think the old man was right in building the bridge?  If
yes, why do you think so?
2. What do we learn from the old man’s gesture? How can we
apply it in our own lives?

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