Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

"It Might Have Been"


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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem ("It Might Have Been" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox )

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  • 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

  • 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

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