Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I like Wilcox because, like I mentioned in that last post, her poetry is easily accessible. I've had moments that may have been a Gethsemane of sorts for me. But sometimes I'm afraid that I have a lot more of Gethsemane to look forward to. Whatever comes, I'll survive.


In golden youth when seems the earth
A Summer-land of singing mirth,
When souls are glad and hearts are light,
And not a shadow lurks in sight,
We do not know it, but there lies
Somewhere veiled under evening skies
A garden which we all must see -
The garden of Gethsemane.

With joyous steps we go our ways,
Love lends a halo to our days;
Light sorrows sail like clouds afar,
We laugh and say how strong we are.
We hurry on; and hurrying, go
Close to the border-land of woe,
That waits for you, and waits for me -
For ever waits Gethsemane.

Down shadowy lanes, across strange streams,
Bridged over by our broken dreams;
Behind the misty caps of years,
Beyond the great salt fount of tears,
The garden lies. Strive as you may,
You cannot miss it in your way.
All paths that have been, or shall be,
Pass somewhere through Gethsemane.

All those who journey, soon or late,
Must pass within the garden's gate;
Must kneel alone in darkness there,
And battle with some fierce despair.
God pity those who cannot say,
Not mine but thine, who only pray,
Let this cup pass, and cannot see
The purpose in Gethsemane.

There are certain aspects of SSA that have changed my life in ways that I wasn't expecting. Some of these accommodations are certainly such that I would not have otherwise chosen them. But I accept them now out of necessity... and it turns out I'm okay with that.


Necessity, whom long I deemed my foe,
Thou cold, unsmiling, and hard-visaged dame,
Now I no longer see thy face, I know
Thou wert my friend beyond reproach or blame.

My best achievements and the fairest flights
Of my winged fancy were inspired by thee;
Thy stern voice stirred me to the mountain heights;
Thy importunings bade me do and be.

But for thy breath, the spark of living fire
Within me might have smouldered out at length;
But for thy lash which would not let me tire,
I never would have measured my own strength.

But for thine ofttimes merciless control
Upon my life, that nerved me past despair,
I never should have dug deep in my soul
And found the mine of treasures hidden there.

And though we walk divided pathways now,
And I no more may see thee, to the end,
I weave this little chaplet for thy brow,
That other hearts may know, and hail thee friend.

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