Preparation

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   We must not force events, but rather make
   The heart soil ready for their coming, as
   The earth spreads carpets for the feet of Spring,
   Or, with the strengthening tonic of the frost,
   Prepares for winter. Should a July noon
   Burst suddenly upon a frozen world
   Small joy would follow, even though that world
   Were longing for the Summer. Should the sting
   Of sharp December pierce the heart of June,
   What death and devastation would ensue!
   All things are planned. The most majestic sphere
   That whirls through space is governed and controlled
   By supreme law, as is the blade of grass
   Which through the bursting bosom of the earth
   Creeps up to kiss the light. Poor, puny man
   Alone doth strive and battle with the Force
   Which rules all lives and worlds, and he alone
   Demands effect before producing cause.
   How vain the hope! We cannot harvest joy
   Until we sow the seed, and God alone
   Knows when that seed has ripened. Oft we stand
   And watch the ground with anxious, brooding eyes,
   Complaining of the slow, unfruitful yield,
   Not knowing that the shadow of ourselves
   Keeps off the sunlight and delays result.
   Sometimes our fierce impatience of desire
   Doth like a sultry May force tender shoots
   Of half-formed pleasures and unshaped events
   To ripen prematurely, and we reap
   But disappointment; or we rot the germs
   With briny tears ere they have time to grow.
   While stars are born and mighty planets die
   And hissing comets scorch the brow of space,
   The Universe keeps its eternal calm.
   Through patient preparation, year on year,
   The earth endures the travail of the Spring
   And Winter’s desolation. So our souls
   In grand submission to a higher law
   Should move serene through all the ills of life
   Believing them masked joys.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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