Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

"It Might Have Been" - Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We will be what we could be. Do not say,
"It might have been, had not this, or that, or this."
No fate can keep us from the chosen way;
He only might who is.

We will do what we could do. Do not dream
Chance leaves a hero, all uncrowned to grieve.
I hold, all men are greatly what they seem;
He does, who could achieve.

We will climb where we could climb. Tell me not
Of adverse storms that kept thee from the height.
What eagle ever missed the peak he sought?
He always climbs who might.

I do not like the phrase "It might have been!"
It lacks force, and life's best truths perverts:
For I believe we have, and reach, and win,
Whatever our deserts.


Comments about "It Might Have Been" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  • Freshman - 883 Points Tanya Stewart-boateng (7/26/2015 6:55:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem.... truthful and inspiring. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 23,360 Points Edward Kofi Louis (7/26/2015 5:48:00 AM)

    All men are greatly what they seem to be. Nice work. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,941 Points Ramesh T A (7/26/2015 3:12:00 AM)

    Surely a sparrow cannot fly high as an eagle ever in life! None can go beyond limit of Nature! (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 799 Points Divine Hearts (7/26/2015 2:05:00 AM)

    This is truly one of the most inspiring poems I've read. Lovely. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 4,915 Points Pranab K Chakraborty (7/26/2015 2:01:00 AM)

    Quiet sharp as knife and hard as bullet a poem written by a sweet look poet. It's nice to think poet tried to illustrate an abstract with the force of her pen. Life's truths are really not possible to calculate by any fixed parameter. It oscillates between May be OR May not be. Exception only in the ending phenomena, universal truth is death. Any way, poem is forceful to inspire who wants to be inspired.

    Pranab k chakraborty (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Zae (4/27/2011 7:28:00 PM)

    luv it very passionate
    u r my fave poett (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Lesa K (8/2/2006 7:38:00 PM)

    This poem is an encouragement to strive and perservere. It's about courage, blood, sweat, and tears; believing in one's own self and abilities. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Howard Haughton (11/2/2004 11:53:00 AM)

    I think this is a good reminder that men can still love, as long as their partners are willing to let love grow with 'Faith'. (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »



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Read poems about / on: hero, believe, fate, dream, life



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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