THY SHIP

HADST thou a ship, in whose vast hold lay stored
The priceless riches of all climes and lands,
Say, wouldst thou let it float upon the seas
Unpiloted, of fickle winds the sport,
And of wild waves and hidden rocks the prey?

Thine is that ship; and in its depths concealed
Lies all the wealth of this vast universe--
Yea, lies some part of God's omnipotence
The legacy divine of every soul.
Thy will, O man, thy will is that great ship,
And yet behold it drifting here and there--
One moment lying motionless in port,
Then on high seas by sudden impulse flung,
Then drying on the sands, and yet again
Sent forth on idle quests to no-man's land
To carry nothing and to nothing bring;
Till worn and fretted by the aimless strife
And buffered by vacillating winds
It founders on a rock, or springs aleak
With all its unused treasures in the hold.

Go save thy ship, thou sluggard; take the wheel
And steer to knowledge, glory and success.
Great mariners have made the pathway plain
For thee to follow; hold thou to the course
Of Concentration Channel, and all things
Shall come in answer to thy swerveless wish
As comes the needle to the magnet's call,
Or sunlight to the prisoned blade of grass
That yearns all winter for the kiss of spring.

Custer and other poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
W. B. Conkey Company Chicago, Ill. (1896)


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