Time and again, during my childhood, Mother would use Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s poetry to encourage a positive view if my days were discouraging.

I thought of Mother and this poet today.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1908

It is easy enough to be pleasant,

When life flows by like a song,

But the man worthwhile is one who will smile,

When everything goes dead wrong.

Wilcox’s most famous lines open her poem “Solitude”:

Laugh and the world laughs with you,

Weep, and you weep alone;

The good old earth must borrow its mirth,

But has trouble enough of its own.

“The Winds of Fate” has a strong thesis.

In full:

One ship drives east and another drives west

With the selfsame winds that blow.

‘Tis the set of the sails,

And not the gales,

That tell us the way to go.


Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate;

As we voyage along through life,

‘Tis the set of a soul

That decides its goal,

And not the calm or the strife.

Let me know what you think.

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