A Builder Or a Wrecker

I didn’t see the famously weepy Boehner get emotional during our time together, with one exception. The night of the golf outing, Ed tells me that toward the very end of Boehner’s speakership he called his friend to share a poem called “Builder or Wrecker.” Debbie asks Ed to recite it. He obliges, and I glance over at Boehner. His face is contorted. By the end of the poem he is sobbing and unable to speak. “He’s a builder,” Ed whispers to me. “Not a wrecker.”   ~ John Boehner Unchained By TIM ALBERTA for Politico Magazine.

As I watched them tear a building down
A gang of men in a busy town
With a ho-heave-ho, and a lusty yell
They swung a beam and the side wall fell

I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
And the men you’d hire if you wanted to build?”
He gave 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 years to do.”
And I thought to myself, as I went my way
Which of these roles have I tried to play’

Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by rule and square?
Am I shaping my work to a well-made plan
Patiently doing the best I can’

Or am I a wrecker who walks to town
Content with the labor of tearing down?
“O Lord let my life and my labors be
That which will build for eternity!”

Author Charles Franklin Benvegar

originally published in 1967 in “The Songs of the Free State Bards” compiled by Vincent Godfrey Burns.


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