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Wreckers or Builders

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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 tho’t 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?

— Carmelo Benvenga

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Wreckers or Builders, 87% based on 209 ratings

5 comments to Wreckers or Builders

  • Rich Bledsoe

    NOT unknown. It was by the Mormon author, John Bytheway!

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  • Carl Benvenga

    This poem was NOT written by John Byetheway since he was only 5 when it was first published in 1967.

    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”

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  • Risa Benvenga

    THIS WAS NOT WRITTEN BY THE MORMON AUTHOR. This poem is titled “The Wreckers” and was written by my grandfather, Charles Franklin Benvegar. It was originally published in 1967 in “The Songs of the Free State Bards” compiled by Vincent Godfrey Burns. PLEASE give credit to the correct person for this poem.

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  • Brad Freestone

    Here is the correct reference to the author of the poem above. Although John Bytheyway read this poem in a motivational CD, he is not the author. My research lead me to this comment posted by the original author’s son.

    “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”.”

    Let’s honor the author and his son by correctly attributing these words to the correct source. This poem obviously means a lot to many people, let’s bring the name Carmelo Benvega out of obscurity for the inspiration that he is to many people.

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  • Carl Benvenga

    In response to Rich Bledsoe. This poem was NOT written by John Bytheway. John Bytheway was only 5 years old when this poem was first published in 1967.

    This poem was written by my father Carmelo Benvenga (aka Charles Franklin 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”.

    Please attribute this poem to my father or remove from your website. It is a copyrighted work and you do not have my permission to use it unattributed.

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