There was once a little comet who lived near the Milky Way!
She loved to wander out at night and jump about and play.
The mother of the comet was a very good old star—
She used to scold her reckless child for venturing out too far;
She told her of the ogre, Sun, who loved on stars to sup,
And who asked no better pastimes than gobbling comets up.
But instead of growing cautious and of showing proper fear,
The foolish little comet edged up near, and near, and near.
She switched her saucy tail along right where the Sun could see,
And flirted with old Mars and was bold as bold could be.
She laughed to scorn the quiet stars, who never frisked about;
She said there was no fun in life unless you ventured out.
She liked to make the planets stare, and wished no better mirth
Than just to see the telescopes aimed at her from the Earth.
She wondered how so many stars could mope through nights and days,
And let the sickly faced old moon get all the love and praise.
And as she talked and tossed her head and switched her shining trail,
The staid old mother star grew sad, her cheek grew wan and pale.
For she had lived there in the skies a million years or more,
And she had heard gay comets talk in just this way before.
And by and by there came an end to this gay comet’s fun—
She went a tiny bit too far—and vanished in the Sun!
No more she swings her shining trail before the whole world’s sight,
But quiet stars she laughed to scorn are twinkling every night.
This poem is in the public domain.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) was a popular and prolific poet. Published and lauded before she even graduated from high school, Ella preferred to write happy, upbeat poetry and was much beloved for it. More than a dozen of her poems are included in the book, Best Loved Poems of the American People (Doubleday, 2008). The familiar saying, "Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep, and you weep alone. . ." comes from her best-known poem, "Solitude." A morally strong and spiritual person, Ella believed that her purpose on earth was to practice kindness and service. Read more about her here.
Saucy and upbeat. That was Ella. I read her work when in grammar school. She was always with the rhyme and back in those days, it was what the public loved.
Posted 03/06/2019 12:33 PM
Some devalue Wilcox for her rhymeyness, but she does it with such exciting wordplay! For example toward the end of the first stanza she comes up with the odd word ?sups? to great effect. It?s hard to overstate her delicate craftsmanship?what a couplet.
Posted 03/06/2019 09:20 AM
Love the poetic craftsmanship so evident in this poem. Great post, Jayne.
Posted 03/06/2019 07:53 AM
Jane Eva Cooper:
Love it, Love it, Love it. Wish I heard this as a child but from now every time I set up my telescope I shall salut to Ella Wheeler Wilcox and smile.
Posted 03/06/2019 07:24 AM