I watched them tearing a building down–
A gang of men in a busy town–
With a yo-heave-ho and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam and the side wall fell.
I asked the foreman: “Are these men skilled–
The kind you would hire if you wanted to build?”
He laughed and said: “Why, no indeed,
Just common labour is all I need:
They can easily wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken years to do.”
I asked myself, as I went my way,
Which of these roles have I tried today?
Am I a builder, who works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and square,
Shaping my deeds by the well-made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks the town
Content with the labour of tearing down?
— Author unknown