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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

Fleeing Away


My thoughts soar not as they ought to soar,
Higher and higher on soul-lent wings;
But ever and often and more and more
They are dragged down earthward by little things,
By little troubles and little needs,
As a lark might be tangled among the weeds.

My purpose is not what it ought to be,
Steady and fixed, like a star on high,
But more like a fisherman's light at sea;
Hither and thither it seems to fly--
Sometimes feeble, and sometimes bright,
Then suddenly lost in the gloom of night.

My life is far from my dream of life--
Calmly contented, serenely glad;
But, vexed and worried by daily strife,
It is always troubled and ofttimes sad--
And the heights I had thought I should reach one day
Grow dimmer and dimmer, and farther away.

My heart never finds the longed-for rest;
Its worldly striving, its greed for gold,
Chilled and frightened the calm-eyed guest
Who sometimes sought me in days of old;
And ever fleeing away from me
Is the higher self that I long to be.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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