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

  • (10/5/2018 10:34:00 AM)


    very nice poem, very beautifully framed. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Glen Kappy (10/5/2018 10:26:00 AM)


    reading this poem made me interested to read about the author. her interest in positive thinking—not a bad thing in itself—shows here, but i wonder, do eagles always make it to the peaks they seek? i have seen crows at the mercy of strong winds, and i wouldn't want to discount the tragedies others have endured that are way beyond my struggles. yet i find comfort in the idea that abraham hoped against hope. -gk (Report) Reply

  • Petals Azureblue (10/5/2018 9:41:00 AM)


    Wow...never say die ever! ! Powerful motivational poem. Dare we fail...thanks for posting. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (10/5/2018 7:11:00 AM)


    Self-confidence, focus and determined efforts bring desired results. Exceptions may be there. (Report) Reply

  • Baquee Billah Ahmed (10/5/2018 7:09:00 AM)


    nice poem....thnx for sharing....................... (Report) Reply

  • Adrian Flett (10/5/2018 4:57:00 AM)


    A way to live life and to achieve whatever we are able, with no regrets and thoughts of, 'what might have been'. The stanzas have a good rhyming structure which blends in with the poets firm advice. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (10/5/2018 1:11:00 AM)


    Such a great poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox............................. (Report) Reply

  • Ruta Mohapatra (10/5/2018 1:01:00 AM)


    'What eagle ever missed the peak he sought? '..........Inspiring! (Report) Reply

  • (12/22/2015 8:14:00 AM)


    ....a very nice poem ★ (Report) Reply

  • (7/26/2015 6:55:00 AM)


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

  • Edward Kofi Louis (7/26/2015 5:48:00 AM)


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

  • 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

  • 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

    Mohammed Asim Nehal (8/4/2016 1:46:00 PM)

    Very well analysed.

  • (4/27/2011 7:28:00 PM)


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

  • (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

  • (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 17 comments »

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



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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