Treasure Island

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

Introductory Verses


Oh, you who read some song that I have sung –
What know you of the soul from whence it sprung?

Dost dream the poet ever speaks aloud
His secret thought unto the listening crowd?

Go take the murmuring sea-shell from the shore-
You have its shape, its colour – and no more.

It tells not one of those vast mysteries
That lie beneath the surface of the seas.

Our songs are shells, cast out by waves of thought;
Here, take them at your pleasure; but think not

You’ve seen the beneath the surface of the waves,
Where lie our shipwrecks, and our coral caves.

Submitted: Saturday, May 31, 2003

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