History of the Bridge Builder Painting and the IPCEA
“The Bridge Builder” — the personification of our profession…
The story behind The Bridge Builder painting…
In the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) office hangs a painting which personifies the endeavors of the ACOFP and the IPCEA towards their missions in the world of osteopathic medicine and compassion for all people of the world. The poem incorporated was uncovered by a wonderful friend of the profession, Pat Patterson. Pat used this poem when he introduced Royce Keilers during his induction as president of the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association for 1984-1985. The poem was read and translated into a painting by an artist friend, Jaynette Spencer, who had received a senior artist of the year award for the state of Michigan in the 1980s.
It can best be explained by a depiction of the poem “The Bridge Builder” by using the personification of our profession. Thus:
The Bridge Builder
An old man, traveling a lone highway,
came at the evening cold and gray
to a chasm deep and wide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim.
for the sullen stream held no fears for him.
But he turned when he reach the other side,
and build a bridge to span the tide.
“Old Man,” cried a fellow pilgrim near.
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day.
And you never again will pass this way.”
“You have crossed the chasm deep and wide.
Why build you a bridge at eventide ?”
And the builder raised his old gray head.
“Good friend, on the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet will pass this way.”
“This stream which has been as naught to me,
to that fair-haired boy may a pitfall be ;
he, too, must cross in the twilight dim .
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him. “
The IPCEA now contracts with an artist in Chengdu, Sichuan to produce the paintings which are presented to each of the teaching sites where new IPCEA programs are started.