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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Ella Wheeler Wilcox Thanksgiving Poem


Greetings, Poetry Lovers! Happy Almost Thanksgiving. 


I struggled with what to share this week, as I look forward to hosting family in our warm, provisioned home, while others in the world endure unspeakable pain, horror, and loss. 


I came across a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, and I must confess I didn't know much about this American poet, who lived from 1850-1919.  Brief searches have me thinking her writing was often critically spurned but welcome by countless readers of her magazine contributions and her books.  She became associated with the Spiritualist/New Thought movement in the early 1900s. She also evidently championed animal rights and vegetarianism, causes I've held close for 35 years, so I'm inclined not to judge too harshly. 


Her poem "Solitude" opens with these famous lines: 


Laugh and the world laughs with you,
    Weep, and you weep alone;
The good old earth must borrow its mirth,
    But has trouble enough of its own.


 Here is her Thanksgiving poem, published in November of 1918.





by Ella Wheeler Wilcox 


We walk on starry fields of white
   And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
   We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
   To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
   Of pleasures sweet and tender.


Our cares are bold and push their way
   Upon our thought and feeling.
They hand about us all the day,
   Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
   We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives,
   And conquers if we let it.


There's not a day in all the year
   But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
   To brim the past's wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
   Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
   While living hearts can hear us.


Full many a blessing wears the guise
   Of worry or of trouble;
Far-seeing is the soul, and wise,
   Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
   To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
   To gladden every morrow.


We ought to make the moments notes
   Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
   Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
   As weeks and months pass o'er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
   A grand Thanksgiving chorus.


What spoke to me more than this poem, though, was her short quote on a plaque in Jack Kerouac Alley in San Francisco, pictured above:


Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes.


-*-Sending love and light to you and yours this Thanksgiving-*-....

(Extra light to those missing someone at the table this year.  Today, Nov. 17, is the birthday of my hubby's mother, Marge, who passed away in 2019.)


Many thanks to someone I'm always grateful for, Irene, for rounding up Poetry Friday this week at Live Your Poem.


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