Poems of Experience eBook

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 59 pages of information about Poems of Experience.

If Christ came questioning, to me alone,
(If Christ came questioning,)
I could not point to any church or shrine
And say, ’I helped build up this house of Thine;
Behold the altar, and the corner stone’;
I could not show one proof of such a thing;
If Christ came questioning.

If Christ came questioning, on His demand,
(If Christ came questioning,)
No pagan soul converted to His creed
Could I proclaim; or say, that word or deed
Of mine, had spread the faith in any land;
Or sent it forth, to fly on stronger wing;
If Christ came questioning.

If Christ came questioning the soul of me,
(If Christ came questioning,)
I could but answer, ’Lord, my little part
Has been to beat the metal of my heart,
Into the shape I thought most fit for Thee;
And at Thy feet, to cast the offering;
Shouldst Thou come questioning.

’From out the earth-fed furnaces of desire,
(Ere Thou cam’st questioning,)
This formless and unfinished gift I brought,
And on life’s anvil flung it down, white hot: 
A glowing thing, of selfishness and fire,
With blow on blow, I made the anvil ring;
(Ere Thou cam’st questioning).

’The hammer, Self-Control, beat hard on it;
(Ere Thou cam’st questioning,)
And with each blow, rose fiery sparks of pain;
I bear their scars, on body, soul, and brain. 
Long, long I toiled; and yet, dear Lord, unfit,
And all unworthy, is the heart I bring,
To meet Thy questioning.’


A beautiful great lady, past her prime,
   Behold her dreaming in her easy chair;
   Gray robed, and veiled; in laces old and rare,
Her smiling eyes see but the vanished time,
Of splendid prowess, and of deeds sublime. 
   Self satisfied she sits, all unaware
   That peace has flown before encroaching care,
And through her halls stalks hunger, linked with crime.

England, awake! from dreams of what has been,
   Look on what is, and put the past away. 
Speak to your sons, until they understand. 
England, awake! for dreaming now is sin;
   In all your ancient wisdom, rise to-day,
And save the glory of your menaced land.


‘Be not attached.’  So runs the great command
For those who seek to ‘know’ and ‘understand.’ 
Who sounds the waters of the deeper sea
Must first draw up his anchor and go free.

But not for me, that knowledge.  I must wait
Until again I enter through life’s gate. 
I am not brave enough to sail away
To farther seas, and leave this beauteous bay.

Love barnacled, my anchor lies; and oh! 
I would not lift it if I could, and go
All unattached, to find those truths which lie
Far out at sea, beneath a lonely sky.

Though peace of heart, and happiness of soul,
Await the seeker at that farther goal,
With love and all its rapture and its pain,
Close to the shores of earth I must remain.

Project Gutenberg
Poems of Experience from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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