She has builded a human monument
The walls of which will stand,
Long after she's departed from
The dwellers in the land,
Long after buildings have crumbled,
That are planted on the sand.
She decided to build for others,
And the building sheltered her not,
And some who dwell within there,
Through all time shall know her not,
And beneath the roof of the building
She'll have no lot or part.
And yet when the days shall have ended,
And beneath the roof tree's shade,
The children and grand children,
In childish ways have played,
And passed from under the building,
And vanished into the shade;
Some dweller beneath the building,
Thinking of when it was new,
May say as his heart turns backward,
Keeping his age in view,
The woman who built this building,
Builded better than she knew.
And she, though she has passed onward,
Hearing the Master's call,
May say, though it may not matter
To her what the building befall,
That it's better to build for others,
Than to have no building at all.
Published in Coffin's Poems with Ajax' Ordeals, 1897