Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ella Wheeler Wilcox Poetry

God and I in space alone
and nobody else in view.
"And where are the people, O Lord," I said,
"the earth below and the sky o'er head
and the dead whom once I knew?"

"That was a dream," God smiled and said,
"A dream that seemed to be true.
There were no people, living or dead,
there was no earth, and no sky o'er head;
there was only Myself -- in you."

"Why do I feel no fear," I asked,
"meeting You here this way?
For I have sinned I know full well--
and is there heaven, and is there hell,
and is this the Judgment Day?"

"Nay, those were but dreams,"
the Great God said,
"Dreams that have ceased to be.
There are no such things as fear or sin;
there is no you -- you never have been--
there is nothing at all but Me."
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.
Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.
Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain."
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Don’t look for the flaws as you go through life;
And even when you find them,
It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
And look for the virtue behind them.
For the cloudiest night has a hint of light
Somewhere in its shadows hiding;
It is better by far to hunt for a star,
Than the spots on the sun abiding.

The current of life runs ever away
To the bosom of God’s great ocean.
Don’t set your force ‘gainst the river’s course
And think to alter its motion.
Don’t waste a curse on the universe –
Remember it lived before you.
Don’t butt at the storm with your puny form,
But bend and let it go o’er you.

The world will never adjust itself
To suit your whims to the letter.
Some things must go wrong your whole life long,
And the sooner you know it the better.
It is folly to fight with the Infinite,
And go under at last in the wrestle;
The wiser man shapes into God’s plan
As water shapes into a vessel."
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Walking to-day on the Common,
I heard a stranger say
To a friend who was standing near him,
'Do you know I am going away? '
I had never seen their faces,
May never see them again;
Yet the words the stranger uttered,
Stirred me with nameless pain.

For I knew some heart would miss him,
Would ache at his going away!
And the earth would seem all cheerless
For many and many a day.
No matter how light my spirits,
No matter how glad my heart,
If I hear those two words spoken,
The teardrops always start.

They are so sad and solemn,
So full of a lonely sound;
Like dead leaves rustling downward,
And dropping upon the ground,
Oh, I pity the naked branches,
When the skies are dull and gray,
And the last leaf whispers softly,
'Good-bye, I am going away.'

In the dreary, dripping autumn,
The wings of the flying birds,
As they soar away to the south land,
Seem always to say those words.
Wherever they may be spoken,
They fall with a sob and a sigh;
And heartaches follow the sentence,
'I am going away, Good-bye.'

O God, in Thy blessed Kingdom,
No lips shall ever say,
No ears shall ever harken
To the words 'I am going away.'"
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Smile a little, smile a little,
As you go along,
Not alone when life is pleasant,
But when things go wrong.
Care delights to see you frowning,
Loves to hear you sigh;
Turn a smiling face upon her –
Quick the dame will fly.

Smile a little, smile a little,
All along the road;
Every life must have its burden,
Every heart its load.
Why sit down in gloom and darkness
With your grief to sup?
As you drink Fate’s bitter tonic,
Smile across the cup.

Smile upon the troubled pilgrims
Whom you pass and meet;
Frowns are thorns, and smiles are blossoms
Oft for weary feet.
Do not make the way seem harder
By a sullen face;
Smile a little, smile a little,
Brighten up the place.

Smile upon your undone labour;
Not for one who grieves
O’er his task waits wealth or glory;
He who smiles achieves.
Though you meet with loss and sorrow
In the passing years,
Smile a little, smile a little,
Even through your tears."
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Whoever you are as you read this,
Whatever your trouble or grief,
I want you to know and to heed this:
The day draweth near with relief.

No sorrow, no woe is unending,
Though heaven seems voiceless and dumb;
So sure as your cry is ascending,
So surely an answer will come.

Whatever temptation is near you,
Whose eyes on this simple verse fall;
Remember good angels will hear you
And help you to stand, if you call.

Though stunned with despair I beseech you,
Whatever your losses, your need,
Believe, when these printed words reach you,
Believe you were born to succeed.

You are stronger, I tell you, this minute,
Than any unfortunate fate!
And the coveted prize - you can win it;
While life lasts 'tis never too late!"
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"I told you the winter would go, love,
I told you the winter would go,
That he'd flee in shame when the south wind came,
And you smiled when I told you so.
You said the blustering fellow
Would never yield to a breeze,
That his cold, icy breath had frozen to death
The flowers, the birds, and trees.

And I told you the snow would melt, love,
In the passionate glance o' the sun;
And the leaves o' the trees, and the flowers and bees,
Would come back again, one by one.
That the great, gray clouds would vanish,
And the sky turn tender and blue;
And the sweet birds would sing, and talk of the spring
And, love, it has all come true.

I told you that sorrow would fade, love,
And you would forget half your pain;
That the sweet bird of song would waken ere long,
And sing in your bosom again;
That hope would creep out of the shadows,
And back to its nest in your heart,
And gladness would come, and find its old home,
And that sorrow at length would depart.

I told you that grief seldom killed, love,
Though the heart might seem dead for awhile.
But the world is so bright, and full of warm light
That 'twould waken at length, in its smile.
Ah, love! was I not a true prophet?
There's a sweet happy smile on your face;
Your sadness has flown - the snow-drift is gone,
And the buttercups bloom in its place."
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Slipping away---slipping away!
Out of our brief year slips the May;
And Winter lingers, and Summer flies;
And Sorrow abideth, and Pleasure dies;
And the days are short, and the nights are long;
And little is right, and much is wrong.

Slipping away is the Summer-time;
It has lost its rhythm and lilting rhyme---
For the grace goes out of the day so soon,
And the tired head aches in the glare of noon,
And the way seems long to the hills that lie
Under the calm of the western sky.

Slipping away are the friends whose worth
Lent a glow to the sad old earth:
One by one they slip from our sight;
One by one their graves gleam white;
Or we count them lost by the crueller death
Of a trust betrayed, or a murdered faith.

Slipping away are the hopes that made
Bliss out of sorrow, and sun out of shade;
Slipping away is our hold on life;
And out of the struggle and wearing strife,
From joys that diminish, and woes that increase,
We are slipping away to the shores of Peace.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

When first we met (the Sea and I),
Like one before a King
I stood in awe; nor felt nor saw
The sun, the winds, the earth, the sky
Or any other thing.
God's Universe to me,
Was just the Sea.

When next we met, the lordly Main
Played but a courtier's part;
Crowned Queen was I; and earth and sky,
And sun and sea were my domain,
Since love was in my heart.
Before, beyond, above,
Was only Love.

Love built me on a little rock,
A little house of pine;
At first, the Sea
Beat angrily
About that house of mine;
(That dear, dear home of mine).

But when it turned to go away
Beyond the sandy track,
Down o'er its wall
The house would call,
Until the Sea came back;
(It always hurried back).

And now the two have grown so fond,
(Oh, breathe no word of this),
When clouds hang low,
And east winds blow,
They meet and kiss and kiss;
(At night, I hear them kiss).

No man can understand the Sea until
He knows all passions of the senses, all
The great emotions of the heart, and each
Exalted aspiration of the soul.
Then may he sit beside the sea and say:
"I, too, have flung myself against the rocks,
And kissed their flinty brows with no return,
And fallen spent upon unfeeling sands.
I, too, have gone forth yearning, to far shores,
Seeking that something which would bring content,
And finding only what I took away;
And I have looked up through the veil of skies
When all the world was still, and understood
That I am one with Nature and with God."

The Dawn was flying from the Night;
Swift as the wind she sped;
Her hair was like a fleece of light;
Her cheeks were warm and red.

All passion pale, the Night pursued;
She fled away, away;
And in her garments, rainbow hued,
She gained the peak of day.

And then, all shaken with alarms,
She leaped down from its crest
Into the Sea's uplifted arms,
And swooned upon his breast.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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