Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

Thy Ship


Hadst thou a ship, in whose vast hold lay stored
The priceless riches of all climes and lands,
Say, woudst thou let it float upon the seas
Unpiloted, of fickle winds the sport,
And of wild waves and hidden rocks the prey?

Thine is that ship; and in its depths concealed
Lies all the wealth of this vast universe –
Yea, lies some part of God’s omnipotence
The legacy divine of every soul.
Thy will, O man, thy will is that great ship,
And yet behold it drifting here and there –
One moment lying motionless in port,
Then on high seas by sudden impulse flung,

Then drying on the sands, and yet again
Sent forth on idle quests to no-man’s land
To carry nothing and to nothing bring;
Till worn and fretted by the aimless strife
And buffeted by vacillating winds
It flounders on a rock, or springs a leak
With all its unused treasures in the hold.

Go save thy ship, thou sluggard; that the wheel
And steer to knowledge, glory and success.
Great mariners have made the pathway plain
For thee to follow; hold thou to the course
Of Concentration Channel, and all things
Shall come in answer to thy swerveless wish
As comes the needle to the magnet’s call,
Or sunlight to the prisoned blade of grass
That yearns all winter for the kiss of spring.

Submitted: Tuesday, June 03, 2003

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