Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

Tis The Set Of The Sail -- Or -- One Ship Sails East - Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

But to every mind there openeth,
A way, and way, and away,
A high soul climbs the highway,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.

But to every man there openeth,
A high way and a low,
And every mind decideth,
The way his soul shall go.

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
'Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.


Comments about Tis The Set Of The Sail -- Or -- One Ship Sails East by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  • (9/12/2018 8:14:00 AM)

    Correct the pronunciation of winds. (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (8/17/2018 1:59:00 PM)

    I read this many times to my children when they were small. We talked about its meaning. Now that they are coming into adulthood and the tumult is hitting, this is a good reminder that our attitude, intent and actions mean a lot more than the circumstances we are in. In other words: It's not the hand your dealt but how you play it. Love it. (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (5/9/2018 12:09:00 AM)

    Since I first read it, some 15 years ago, I have reflected on its affect on almost daily thoughts, plans and efforts. To me the set of the soul is better represented as setting our intentions. Simply adjusting/directing my intentions and influencing the intentions of others, has set both me and some of the others on courses toward amazing accomplishments, acquisitions, and locations. I regret that I didn't come across this collection of simple, ye powerful words earlier in life. (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 3 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Friday, April 2, 2010



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. Television
    Roald Dahl
  10. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
[Report Error]