The Disappointed ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

There are songs enough for the hero

    Who dwells on the heights of fame;

  I sing of the disappointed—

    For those who have missed their aim.

  I sing with a tearful cadence

    For one who stands in the dark,

  And knows that his last, best arrow

    Has bounded back from the mark.

  I sing for the breathless runner,

    The eager, anxious soul,

“Who falls with his strength exhausted.

    Almost in sight of the goal;

  For the hearts that break in silence,

    With a sorrow all unknown,

  For those who need companions,

    Yet walk their ways alone.

  There are songs enough for the lovers

    Who share love’s tender pain,

  I sing for the one whose passion

    Is given all in vain.

  For those whose spirit comrades

    Have missed them on their way,

  I sing, with a heart o’erflowing,

    This minor strain to-day.

  And I know the Solar system

    Must somewhere keep in space

  A prize for that spent runner

    Who barely lost the race.

  For the plan would be imperfect

    Unless it held some sphere

  That paid for the toil and talent

    And love that are wasted here.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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Keep Going ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Is the goal distant, and troubled the road,
   And the way long?
   And heavy your load?
Then gird up your courage, and say ‘I am strong,’
   And keep going.

Is the work weary, and endless the grind
   And petty the pay?
   Then brace up your mind
And say ‘Something better is coming my way,’
   And keep doing.

Is the drink bitter life pours in your cup—
   Is the taste gall?
   Then smile and look up
And say ‘God is with me whatever befall,’
   And keep trusting.

Is the heart heavy with hope long deferred,
   And with prayers that seem vain?
   Keep saying the word—
And that which you strive for you yet shall attain.
   Keep praying.

Never Mind ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Whatever your work and whatever its worth,
   No matter how strong or clever,
Some one will sneer if you pause to hear,
   And scoff at your best endeavor.
For the target art has a broad expanse,
   And wherever you chance to hit it,
Though close be your aim to the bull’s-eye fame,
   There are those who will never admit it.

Though the house applauds while the artist plays,
   And a smiling world adores him,
Somebody is there with an ennuied air
   To say that the acting bores him.
For the tower of art has a lofty spire,
   With many a stair and landing,
And those who climb seem small oft-time
   To one at the bottom standing.

So work along in your chosen niche
   With a steady purpose to nerve you;
Let nothing men say who pass your way
   Relax your courage or swerve you.
The idle will flock by the Temple of Art
   For just the pleasure of gazing;
But climb to the top and do not stop,
   Though they may not all be praising.

Worthwhile ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

It is easy enough to be pleasant,
    When life flows by like a song,
  But the man worth while is one who will smile,
    When everything goes dead wrong.
  For the test of the heart is trouble,
    And it always comes with the years,
  And the smile that is worth the praises of earth,
    Is the smile that shines through tears.

  It is easy enough to be prudent,
    When nothing tempts you to stray,
  When without or within no voice of sin
    Is luring your soul away;
  But it’s only a negative virtue
    Until it is tried by fire,
  And the life that is worth the honor on earth,
    Is the one that resists desire.

  By the cynic, the sad, the fallen,
    Who had no strength for the strife,
  The world’s highway is cumbered to-day,
    They make up the sum of life.
  But the virtue that conquers passion,
    And the sorrow that hides in a smile,
  It is these that are worth the homage on earth
    For we find them but once in a while.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

You Can Never Tell ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

You never can tell when you send a word,
   Like an arrow shot from a bow
By an archer blind, be it cruel or kind,
   Just where it may chance to go!
It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend,
   Tipped with its poison or balm;
To a stranger’s heart in life’s great mart,
   It may carry its pain or its calm.

You never can tell when you do an act
   Just what the result will be;
But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
   Though the harvest you may not see.
Each kindly act is an acorn dropped
   In God’s productive soil.
You may not know, but the tree shall grow,
   With shelter for those who toil.

You never can tell what your thoughts will do,
   In bringing you hate or love;
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
   Are swifter than carrier doves.
They follow the law of the universe—
   Each thing must create its kind;
And they speed o’er the track to bring you back
   Whatever went out from your mind.

Excerpt From
Poems of Power
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nothing But Stone – by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nothing But Stone

I think I never passed so sad an hour,
   Dear friend, as that one at the church to-night.
The edifice from basement to the tower
   Was one resplendent blaze of coloured light.
Up through broad aisles the stylish crowd was thronging,
   Each richly robed like some king’s bidden guest.
“Here will I bring my sorrow and my longing,”
   I said, “and here find rest.”

I heard the heavenly organ’s voice of thunder,
   It seemed to give me infinite relief.
I wept.  Strange eyes looked on in well-bred wonder.
   I dried my tears: their gaze profaned my grief.
Wrapt in the costly furs, and silks, and laces,
   Beat alien hearts, that had no part with me.
I could not read, in all those proud cold faces,
   One thought of sympathy.

I watched them bowing and devoutly kneeling,
   Heard their responses like sweet waters roll
But only the glorious organ’s sacred pealing
   Seemed gushing from a full and fervent soul.
I listened to the man of holy calling,
   He spoke of creeds, and hailed his own as best;
Of man’s corruption and of Adam’s-falling,
   But naught that gave me rest:

Nothing that helped me bear the daily grinding
   Of soul with body, heart with heated brain;
Nothing to show the purpose of this blinding
   And sometimes overwhelming sense of pain.
And then, dear friend, I thought of thee, so lowly,
   So unassuming, and so gently kind,
And lo! a peace, a calm serene and holy,
   Settled upon my mind.

Ah, friend, my friend! one true heart, fond and tender,
   That understands our troubles and our needs,
Brings us more near to God than all the splendour
   And pomp of seeming worship and vain creeds.
One glance of thy dear eyes so full of feeling,
   Doth bring me closer to the Infinite
Than all that throng of worldly people kneeling
   In blaze of gorgeous light.

The Year ~ Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Year

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.