I shared this poem a few years back, but ran across it again this week. I have recently been able to identify the author as Charles Benvegar – originally published in 1967. A great perspective as we figure out which side we are on!
Wreckers or Builders
I watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a ho-heave-ho and lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.
I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
As the men you'd hire if you had to build?”
He gave me a laugh and said, “No indeed!
Just common labor is all I need.
I can easily wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken a year to do.”
And I thought to myself as I went my way,
Which of these two roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and square?
Am I shaping my deeds by a well-made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down?
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This poem was written by my father, Carmelo Benvenga (1913-1989) of Baltimore, Maryland, USA and was first published in 1967 under his pseudonym, Charles Benvegar.
It was published in the book “Songs of the Free State Bards” a poetry anthology edited by Vincent Godfrey Burns, Poet Laureate of Maryland, and printed by New World Books of Washington D.C. and copyrighted 1967. The poem appears on page 7 of this book and is clearly attributed to my father. The original title is “The Wreckers”.
Carl, Thank you for the reference! I was not able to previously identify the author of this inspiring piece. I will certainly reference your father with the information you have provided.