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Best Famous Ella Wheeler Wilcox Poems

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Sorrows Uses

 The uses of sorrow I comprehend
Better and better at each year’s end.
Deeper and deeper I seem to see Why and wherefore it has to be Only after the dark, wet days Do we fully rejoice in the sun’s bright rays.
Sweeter the crust tastes after the fast Than the sated gourmand’s finest repast.
The faintest cheer sounds never amiss To the actor who once has heard a hiss.
To one who the sadness of freedom knows, Light seem the fetters love may impose.
And he who has dwelt with his heart alone, Hears all the music in friendship’s tone.
So better and better I comprehend, How sorrow ever would be our friend.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Loves Coming

 She had looked for his coming as warriors come, 
With the clash of arms and the bugle's call; 
But he came instead with a stealthy tread, 
Which she did not hear at all.
She had thought how his armor would blaze in the sun, As he rode like a prince to claim his bride: In the sweet dim light of the falling night She found him at her side.
She had dreamed how the gaze of his strange, bold eye Would wake her heart to a sudden glow: She found in his face the familiar grace Of a friend she used to know.
She had dreamed how his coming would stir her soul, As the ocean is stirred by the wild storm's strife: He brought her the balm of a heavenly calm, And a peace which crowned her life.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Begin The Day

 Begin each morning with a talk to God,
And ask for your divine inheritance
Of usefulness, contentment, and success.
Resign all fear, all doubt, and all despair.
The stars doubt not, and they are undismayed, Though whirled through space for countless centuries, And told not why or wherefore: and the sea With everlasting ebb and flow obeys, And leaves the purpose with the unseen Cause.
The star sheds its radiance on a million worlds, The sea is prodigal with waves, and yet No lustre from the star is lost, and not One dropp missing from the ocean tides.
Oh! brother to the star and sea, know all God’s opulence is held in trust for those Who wait serenely and who work in faith.


More great poems below...

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Last Love

 The first flower of the spring is not so fair 
Or bright, as one the ripe midsummer brings.
The first faint note the forest warbler sings Is not as rich with feeling, or so rare As when, full master of his art, the air Drowns in the liquid sea of song he flings Like silver spray from beak, and breast, and wings.
The artist's earliest effort wrought with care, The bard's first ballad, written in his tears, Set by his later toil seems poor and tame.
And into nothing dwindles at the test.
So with the passions of maturer years Let those who will demand the first fond flame, Give me the heart's last love, for that is best.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Love is Enough

 Love is enough.
Let us not ask for gold.
Wealth breeds false aims, and pride and selfishness; In those serene, Arcadian days of old Men gave no thought to princely homes and dress.
The gods who dwelt on fair Olympia's height Lived only for dear love and love's delight.
Love is enough.
Love is enough.
Why should we care for fame? Ambition is a most unpleasant guest: It lures us with the glory of a name Far from the happy haunts of peace and rest.
Let us stay here in this secluded place Made beautiful by love's endearing grace! Love is enough.
Love is enough.
Why should we strive for power? It brings men only envy and distrust.
The poor world's homage pleases but an hour, And earthly honours vanish in the dust.
The grandest lives are ofttimes desolate; Let me be loved, and let who will be great.
Love is enough.
Love is enough.
Why should we ask for more? What greater gift have gods vouchsafed to men? What better boon of all their precious store Than our fond hearts that love and love again? Old love may die; new love is just as sweet; And life is fair and all the world complete: Love is enough!


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Does It Pay?

 If one poor burdened toiler o’er life’s road, 
Who meets us by the way, 
Goes on less conscious of his galling load, 
Then life, indeed, does pay.
If we can show the troubled heart the gain That lies always in loss, Why, then, we too are paid for all the pain Of bearing life’s hard cross.
If some despondent soul to hope is stirred, Some sad lip made to smile, By any act of ours, or any word, Then, life has been worth while.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Going Away

 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.
' For no soul ever wearies Of the dear, bright angel land, And no saint ever wanders From the sunny golden land.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Mothers Loss

 If I could clasp my little babe
Upon my breast to-night, 
I would not mind the blowing wind
That shrieketh in affright.
Oh, my lost babe! my little babe, My babe with dreamful eyes; Thy bed is cold; and night wind bold Shrieks woeful lullabies.
My breast is softer than the sod; This room, with lighter hearth, Is better place for thy sweet face Than frozen mother eatrth.
Oh, my babe! oh, my lost babe! Oh, babe with waxen hands, I want thee so, I need thee so - Come from thy mystic lands! No love that, like a mother's fills Each corner of the heart; No loss like hers, that rends, and chills, And tears the soul apart.
Oh, babe - my babe, my helpless babe! I miss thy little form.
Would I might creep where thou dost sleep, And clasp thee through the storm.
I hold thy pillow to my breast, To bring a vague relief; I sing the songs that soothed thy rest - Ah me! no cheating grief.
My breathing babe! my sobbing babe! I miss thy plaintive moan, I cannot hear - thou art not near - My little one, my own.
Thy father sleeps.
He mourns thy loss, But little fathers know The pain that makes a mother toss Through sleepless nights of woe.
My clinging babe! my nursing babe! What knows thy father - man - How my breasts miss thy lips' soft kiss - None but a mother can.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Smiles

 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.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Searching

 These quiet Autumn days, 
My soul, like Noah's dove, on airy wings
Goes out and searches for the hidden things
Beyond the hills of haze.
With mournful, pleading cries, Above the waters of the voiceless sea That laps the shore of broad Eternity, Day after day, it flies, Searching, but all in vain, For some stray leaf that it may light upon, And read the future, as the days agone - Its pleasures, and its pain.
Listening patiently For some voice speaking from the mighty deep, Revealing all the things that it doth keep In secret there for me.
Come back and wait, my soul! Day after day thy search has been in vain.
Voiceles and silent o'er the future's plain Its mystic waters roll.
God, seeing, knoweth best, And in His time the waters shall subside, And thou shalt know what lies beneath the tide, Then wait, my soul, and rest.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

A Baby In The House

 I knew that a baby was hid in that house,
Though I saw no cradle and heard no cry;
But the husband was tip-toeing 'round like a mouse,
And the good wife was humming a soft lullaby;
And there was a look on the face of the mother,
That I knew could mean only one thing, and no other.
The mother, I said to myself, for I knew That the woman before me was certainly that; And there lay in a corner a tiny cloth shoe, And I saw on a stand such a wee little hat; And the beard of the husband said, plain as could be, 'Two fat chubby hands have been tugging at me.
' And he took from his pocket a gay picture-book, And a dog that could bark, if you pulled on a string; And the wife laid them up with such a pleased look; And I said to myself, 'There is no other thing But a babe that could bring about all this, and so That one thing is in hiding somewhere, I know.
' I stayed but a moment, and saw nothing more, And heard not a sound, yet I know I was right; What else could the shoe mean that lay on the floor, The book and the toy, and the faces so bright; And what made the husband as still as a mouse? I am sure, very sure, there's a babe in that house.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

In The Garden

 One moment alone in the garden, 
Under the August skies; 
The moon had gone but the stars shone on, -
Shone like your beautiful eyes.
Away from the glitter and gaslight, Alone in the garden there, While the mirth of the throng, in laugh and song, Floated out on the air.
You looked down through the starlight, And I looked up at you; And a feeling came that I could not name, - Something starnge and new.
Friends of a few weeks only, - Why should it give me pain To know you would go in the morrow, And would not come again? Formal friends of a season.
What matter that we must part? But under the skies, with a swift surprise, Each read the other's heart.
We did not speak, but your breath on my cheek Was like a breeze of the south: And your dark hair brushed my forehead And your kiss fell on my mouth.
Some one was searching for me, - Some one to say good-night; And we went in from the garden, Out of the sweet starlight, Back to the glitter and music, And we said 'Good-bye' in the hall, When a dozen heard and echoed the word, And then - well, that was all.
The river that rolls between us Can never be crossed, I know, For the waters are deep and the shores are steep, And a maelstrom whirls below; But I think we shall always remember, Though we both may strive to forget, How you looked in my eyes, 'neath the August skies, After the moon had set; - How you kissed my lips in the garden, And we stood in a trance of bliss, And our hearts seemed speaking together In that one thrilling kiss.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Father

 He never made a fortune, or a noise
In the world where men are seeking after fame; 
But he had a healthy brood of girls and boys
Who loved the very ground on which he trod.
They thought him just little short of God; Oh you should have heard the way they said his name – ‘Father.
’ There seemed to be a loving little prayer In their voices, even when they called him ‘Dad.
’ Though the man was never heard of anywhere, As a hero, yet somehow understood He was doing well his part and making good; And you knew it, by the way his children had Of saying ‘Father.
’ He gave them neither eminence nor wealth, But he gave them blood untainted with a vice, And opulence of undiluted health.
He was honest, and unpurchable and kind; He was clean in heart, and body, and in mind.
So he made them heirs to riches without price – This father.
He never preached or scolded; and the rod – Well, he used it as a turning pole in play.
But he showed the tender sympathy of God.
To his children in their troubles, and their joys.
He was always chum and comrade with his boys, And his daughters – oh, you ought to hear them say ‘Father.
’ Now I think of all achievements ‘tis the least To perpetuate the species; it is done By the insect and the serpent, and the beast.
But the man who keeps his body, and his thought, Worth bestowing on an offspring love-begot, Then the highest earthly glory he was won, When in pride a grown-up daughter or a son Says ‘That’s Father.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Individuality

 Ah yes, I love you, and with all my heart; 
Just as a weaker woman loves her own, 
Better than I love my beloved art, 
Which, until you came, reigned royally, alone, 
My king, my master.
Since I saw your face I have dethroned it, and you hold that place.
I am as weak as other women are – Your frown can make the whole world like a tomb Your smile shines brighter than the sun, by far; Sometimes I think there is not space or room In all the earth for such a love as mine, And it soars up to breathe in realms divine.
I know that your desertion or neglect Could break my heart, as women’s hearts do break; If my wan days had nothing to expect From your love’s splendour, all joy would forsake The chambers of my soul.
Yes this is true.
And yet, and yet – one thing I keep from you.
There is a subtle part of me, which went Into my long pursued and worshipped art; Though your great love fills me with such content, No other love finds room now in my heart.
Yet that rare essence was my art’s alone.
Thank God, you cannot grasp it; ‘tis mine own.
Thank God, I say, for while I love you so, With that vast love, as passionate as tender, I feel an exultation as I know I have not made you a complete surrender.
Here is my body; bruise it, if you will, And break my heart; I have that something still.
You cannot grasp it.
Seize the breath of morn, Or bind the perfume of the rose as well.
God put it in my soul when I was born; It is not mine to give away, or sell, Or offer up on any alter shrine.
It was my art’s; and when not art’s, ‘tis mine.
For Love’s sake, I can put the art away, Or anything which stands ‘twixt me and you, But that strange essence God bestowed, I say, To permeate the work He gave to do: And it cannot be drained, dissolved, or sent Through any channel, save the one He meant.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

All Roads That Lead To God Are Good

 All roads that lead to God are good.
What matters it, your faith, or mine? Both centre at the goal divine Of love’s eternal Brotherhood.
The kindly life in house or street – The life of prayer and mystic rite – The student’s search for truth and light – These paths at one great Junction meet.
Before the oldest book was writ, Full many a prehistoric soul Arrived at this unchanging goal, Through changeless Love, that leads to it.
What matters that one found his Christ In rising sun, or burning fire? In faith within him did not tire, His longing for the Truth sufficed.
Before our modern hell was brought To edify the modern world, Full many a hate-filled soul was hurled In lakes of fire by its own thought.
A thousand creeds have come and gone, But what is that to you or me? Creeds are but branches of a tree – The root of love lives on and on.
Though branch by branch proved withered wood, The root is warm with precious wine.
Then keep your faith, and leave me mine – All roads that lead to God are good.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

A Fallen Leaf

 A trusting little leaf of green,
A bold audacious frost;
A rendezvous, a kiss or two,
And youth for ever lost.
Ah, me! The bitter, bitter cost.
A flaunting patch of vivid red, That quivers in the sun; A windy gust, a grave of dust, The little race is run.
Ah, me! Were that the only one.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Friendship After Love

 After the fierce midsummer all ablaze
Has burned itself to ashes, and expires
In the intensity of its own fires, 
There come the mellow, mild, St.
Martin days Crowned with the calm of peace, but sad with haze.
So after Love has led us, till he tires Of his own throes, and torments, and desires, Comes large-eyed Friendship: with a restful gaze.
He beckons us to follow, and across Cool verdant vales we wander free from care.
Is it a touch of frost lies in the air? Why are we haunted with a sense of loss? We do not wish the pain back, or the heat; And yet, and yet, these days are incomplete.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

A Song Of Life

  In the rapture of life and of living,
I lift up my head and rejoice,
And I thank the great Giver for giving
The soul of my gladness a voice.
In the glow of the glorious weather, In the sweet-scented, sensuous air, My burdens seem light as a feather – They are nothing to bear.
In the strength and the glory of power, In the pride and the pleasure of wealth (For who dares dispute me my dower Of talents and youth-time and health?) , I can laugh at the world and its sages – I am greater than seers who are sad, For he is most wise in all ages Who knows how to be glad.
I lift up my eyes to Apollo, The god of the beautiful days, And my spirit soars off like a swallow, And is lost in the light of its rays.
Are tou troubled and sad? I beseech you Come out of the shadows of strife – Come out in the sun while I teach you The secret of life.
Come out of the world – come above it – Up over its crosses and graves, Though the green earth is fair and I love it, We must love it as masters, not slaves.
Come up where the dust never rises – But only the perfume of flowers – And your life shall be glad with surprises Of beautiful hours.
Come up where the rare golden wine is Apollo distills in my sight, And your life shall be happy as mine is, And as full of delight.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Change

 Changed? Yes, I will confess it – I have changed.
I do not love you in the old fond way.
I am your friend still – time has not estranged One kindly feeling of that vanished day.
But the bright glamour which made life a dream, The rapture of that time, its sweet content, Like visions of a sleeper’s brain they seem – And yet I cannot tell you how they went.
Why do you gaze with such accusing eyes Upon me, dear? It is so very strange That hearts, like all things underneath God’s skies, Should sometimes feel the influence of change? The birds, the flowers, the foliage of the trees, The stars which seem so fixed, and so sublime, Vast continents, and the eternal seas, - All these do change, with ever-changing time.
The face our mirror shows us year on year Is not the same; our dearest aim, or need, Our lightest thought, or feeling hope, or fear, All, all the law of alternation heed.
How can we ask the human heart to stay, Content with fancies of Youth’s earliest hours? The year outgrows the violets of May, Although, maybe, there are no fairer flowers.
And life may hold no sweeter love than this, Which lies so cold, so voiceless, and so dumb, And will I miss it, dear? Why, yes, we miss The violets always – till the roses come!


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

I Love You

 I love your lips when they're wet with wine 
And red with a wild desire; 
I love your eyes when the lovelight lies 
Lit with a passionate fire.
I love your arms when the warm white flesh Touches mine in a fond embrace; I love your hair when the strands enmesh Your kisses against my face.
Not for me the cold calm kiss Of a virgin's bloodless love; Not for me the saint's white bliss, Nor the heart of a spotless dove.
But give me the love that so freely gives And laughs at the whole world's blame, With your body so young and warm in my arms, It sets my poor heart aflame.
So kiss me sweet with your warm wet mouth, Still fragrant with ruby wine, And say with a fervor born of the South That your body and soul are mine.
Clasp me close in your warm young arms, While the pale stars shine above, And we'll live our whole young lives away In the joys of a living love.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Love Much

 Love much.
Earth has enough of bitter in it.
Cast sweets into its cup whene’er you can.
No heart so hard, but love at last may win it.
Love is the great primæval cause of man.
All hate is foreign to the first great plan.
Love much.
Your heart will be led out to slaughter, On altars built of envy and deciet.
Love on, love on! ‘tis bread upon the water; It shall be cast in loaves yet at your feet, Unleavened manna, most divinely sweet.
Love much.
Your faith will be dethroned and shaken, Your trust betrayed by many a fair, false lure.
Remount your faith, and let new trusts awaken.
Though clouds obscure them, yet the stars are pure; Love is a vital force and must endure.
Love much.
Men’s souls contract with cold suspicion; Shine on them with warm love, and they expand.
‘Tis love, not creeds, that from a low condition Leads mankind up to heights supreme and grand.
Oh that the world could see and understand! Love much.
There is no waste in freely giving; More blessed is it, even, than to receive.
He who loves much alone finds life worth living: Love on, through doubt and darkness; and believe There is no thing which Love may not achieve.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Sorry

 There is much in life that makes me sorry as I journey 
down life’s way.
And I seem to see more pathos in poor human Lives each day.
I’m sorry for the strong brave men, who shield the weak from harm, But who, in their own troubled hours find no Protecting arm.
I’m sorry for the victors who have reached success, to stand As targets for the arrows shot by envious failure’s hand.
I’m sorry for the generous hearts who freely shared their wine, But drink alone the gall of tears in fortune’s drear decline.
I’m sorry for the souls who build their own fame’s funeral pyre, Derided by the scornful throng like ice deriding fire.
I’m sorry for the conquering ones tho know not sin’s defeat, But daily tread down fierce desire ‘neath scorched and bleeding feet.
I’m sorry for the anguished hearts that break with passions strain, But I’m sorrier for the poor starved souls that Never knew love’s pain.
Who hunger on through barren years not tasting joys they crave, For sadder far is such a lot than weeping o’er a grave.
I’m sorry for the souls that come unwelcomed into birth, I’m sorry for the unloved old who cumber up the earth.
I’m sorry for the suffering poor in life’s great maelstrom hurled, In truth I’m sorry for them all who make this aching world.
But underneath whate’er seems sad and is not understood, I know there lies hid from our sight a mighty germ of good.
And this belief stands firm by me, my sermon, motto, text – The sorriest things in this life will seem grandest in the next.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

A Golden Day

  The subtle beauty of this day
Hangs o'er me like a fairy spell,
And care and grief have flown away,
And every breeze sings, "all is well.
" I ask, "Holds earth or sin, or woe?" My heart replies, "I do not know.
" Nay! all we know, or feel, my heart, Today is joy undimmed, complete; In tears or pain we have no part; The act of breathing is so sweet, We care no higher joy to name.
What reck we now of wealth or fame? The past--what matters it to me? The pain it gave has passed away.
The future--that I cannot see! I care for nothing save today-- This is a respite from all care, And trouble flies--I know not where.
Go on, oh noisy, restless life! Pass by, oh, feet that seek for heights! I have no part in aught of strife; I do not want your vain delights.
The day wraps round me like a spell And every breeze sings, "All is well.
"


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

A Womans Love

 So vast the tide of Love within me surging,
It overflows like some stupendous sea,
The confines of the Present and To-be;
And 'gainst the Past's high wall I feel it urging,
As it would cry "Thou too shalt yield to me!"

All other loves my supreme love embodies;
I would be she on whose soft bosom nursed
Thy clinging infant lips to quench their thirst;
She who trod close to hidden worlds where God is,
That she might have, and hold, and see thee first.
I would be she who stirred the vague fond fancies, Of thy still childish heart; who through bright days Went sporting with thee in the old-time plays, And caught the sunlight of thy boyish glances In half-forgotten and long-buried Mays.
Forth to the end, and back to the beginning, My love would send its inundating tide, Wherein all landmarks of thy past should hide.
If thy life's lesson must be learned through sinning, My grieving virtue would become thy guide.
For I would share the burden of thy errors, So when the sun of our brief life had set, If thou didst walk in darkness and regret, E'en in that shadowy world of nameless terrors, My soul and thine should be companions yet.
And I would cross with thee those troubled oceans Of dark remorse whose waters are despair: All things my jealous reckless love would dare, So that thou mightst not recollect emotions In which it did not have a part and share.
There is no limit to my love's full measure, Its spirit gold is shaped by earth's alloy; I would be friend and mother, mate and toy, I'd have thee look to me for every pleasure, And in me find all memories of joy.
Yet though I love thee in such selfish fashion, I would wait on thee, sitting at thy feet, And serving thee, if thou didst deem it meet.
And couldst thou give me one fond hour of passion, I'd take that hour and call my life complete.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

A March Snow

 Let the old snow be covered with the new:
The trampled snow, so soiled, and stained, and sodden.
Let it be hidden wholly from our view By pure white flakes, all trackless and untrodden.
When Winter dies, low at the sweet Spring's feet Let him be mantled in a clean, white sheet.
Let the old life be covered by the new: The old past life so full of sad mistakes, Let it be wholly hidden from the view By deeds as white and silent as snow-flakes.
Ere this earth life melts in the eternal Spring Let the white mantle of repentance fling Soft drapery about it, fold on fold, Even as the new snow covers up the old.