Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

(25 November 1875 – 15 August 1928 / Canada)

The Bridge Builder - Poem by Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

OF old the Winds came romping down,
Oh, wild and free were they!
They bent the prairie grasses low
And made a place to play.

Then, that the gods might hear their voice
On purple days of spring,
They sought the tossing, pine-clad slope
And made a place to sing.

Tired at last of song and play,
They found a canyon deep
And in its echoing silences
They made a place to weep.

Man came, a small and feeble thing,
And looked upon the plain.
'Lo, this is mine,' he said, and set
A seal of golden grain.

Upon the mountain slopes he gazed,
Where the great pine trees grow,
Then gashed their mighty sides and laid
Their singing branches low.

He clung upon the canyon's ledge
And from its topmost ridge,
Above its vast and awful deeps,
He built himself a bridge.

A bauble in the light of day,
New gilded by the sun,
It seemed like some great, golden web
By giant spider spun!

The homeless winds came rushing down--
Oh they were wild and free!
And angry for their stolen plain
And for their felled pine tree--

And angry--angry most of all
For that brave bridge of gold!
With deep-mouthed shout they hurtled down
To tear it from its hold--

The girders shrieked, the cables strained
And shuddered at the roar--
Yet, when the winds had passed, the bridge
Held firmly as before!

Still fairy-like and frail it shone
Against the sunset's glow--
But one, the builder of the bridge,
Lay silent, far below!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010

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