Ella Wheeler Wilcox (5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)
The Valley Of Fear
In the journey of life, as we travel along
To the mystical goal that is hidden from sight,
You may stumble at times into Roadways of Wrong,
Not seeing the sign-board that points to the right.
Through caverns of sorrow your feet may be led,
Where the noon of the day will like midnight appear.
But no matter whither you wander or tread,
Keep out of the Valley of Fear.
The Roadways of Wrong will wind out into light
If you sit in the silence and ask for a Guide;
In the caverns of sorrow your soul gains its sight
Of beautiful vistas, ascending and wide.
In by-paths of worry and trouble and strife
Full many a bloom grows bedewed by a tear,
But wretched and arid and void of all life
Is the desolate Valley of Fear.
The Valley of Fear is a maddening maze
Of paths that wind on without exit or end,
From nowhere to nowhere lead all of its ways,
And shadows with shadows in more shadows blend.
Each guide-post is lettered, 'This way to Despair,'
And the River of Death in the darkness flows near,
But there is a beautiful Roadway of Prayer
This side of the Valley of Fear.
This beautiful Roadway is narrow and steep,
And it runs up the side of the Mountain of Faith.
You may not perceive it at first if you weep,
But it rises high over the River of Death.
Though the Roadway is narrow and dark at the base,
It widens ascending, and ever grows clear,
Till it shines at the top with the Light of God's face,
Far, far from the Valley of Fear.
When close to that Valley your footsteps shall fare,
Turn, turn to the Roadway of Prayer-
The beautiful Roadway of Prayer.
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