Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

What Shall We Do? - Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Here now, for evermore, our lives must part.
My path leads there, and yours another way.
What shall we do with this fond love, dear heart?
It grows a heavier burden day by day.

Hide it? In all earth’s caverns, void and vast,
There is not room enough to hide it, dear;
Not even the mighty storehouse of the past
Could cover it, from our own eyes, I fear.

Drown it? Why, were the contents of each ocean
Merged into one great sea, too shallow then
Would be its waters, to sink this emotion
So deep it could not rise to life again.

Burn it? In all the furnace flames below,
It would not in a thousand years expire.
Nay! It would thrive, exult, expand and grow,
For from its very birth it fed on fire.

Starve it? Yes, yes, that is the only way.
Give it no more food, of glance, or word, or sigh,
No memories, even, of any bygone day;
No crumbs of vain regrets – so let it die.

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Read poems about / on: food, birth, ocean, fire, fear, sea, water, rose, memory

Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 31, 2003

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