Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

A Grey Mood


As we hurry away to the end, my friend,
Of this sad little farce called existence,
We are sure that the future will bring one thing,
And that is the grave in the distance.
And so when our lives run along all wrong,
And nothing seems real or certain,
We can comfort ourselves with the thought (or not)
Of that spectre behind the curtain.

But we haven’t much time to repine or whine,
Or to wound or jostle each other;
And the hour for us each is to-day, I say,
If we mean to assist a brother.
And there is no pleasure that earth gives birth,
But the worry it brings is double;
And all that repays for the strife of life,
Is helping some soul in trouble.

I tell you, if I could go back the track
To my life’s morning hour,
I would not set forth, seeking name or fame,
Or that poor bauble called power.
I would be like the sunlight, and live to give;
I would lend, but I would not borrow;
Nor would I be blind and complain of pain,
Forgetting the meaning of sorrow.

This world is a vaporous jest at best,
Tossed off by the gods in laughter;
And a cruel attempt at wit were it
If nothing better came after.
It is reeking with hearts that ache and break,
Which we ought to comfort and strengthen,
As we hurry away to the end, my friend,
And the shadows behind us lengthen.

Submitted: Monday, May 26, 2003

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