(This poem was written for an entertainment given by the Y.M.C.A. at an aviation barracks in a large camp in France. Mrs. Wilcox addressed five hundred aviators, and these verses were recited with great effect by Mrs. May Randall. After the entertainment there was a rush to obtain autographed copies of the poem.)
YOU may thrill with the speed of your thoroughbred steed,
You may laugh with delight as you ride the ocean,
You may rush afar in your touring car,
Leaping, sweeping, by things that are creeping--
But you never will know the joy of motion
Till you rise up over the earth some day
And soar like an eagle, away--away.
High and higher, above each spire,
Till lost to sight is the tallest steeple,
With the winds you chase in a valiant race,
Looping, swooping, where mountains are grouping,
Hailing them comrades, in place of people.
Oh! vast is the rapture the bird man knows
As into the ether he mounts and goes.
He is over the sphere of human fear;
He has come into touch with things supernal.
At each man's gate death stands await;
And dying, flying, were better than lying
In sick-beds crying for life eternal.
Better to fly halfway to God
Than to burrow too long like a worm in the sod.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In Winning a cause : World War stories. by John Gilbert Thompson.
Boston ; New York ; Chicago : Silver, Burdett and Company, 1919. p. 77.
|Back to Poem Index|