My Cart 


As You Go Through Life
Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Don't look for the flaws as you go through life;
And even when you find them,
It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
And look for the virtue behind them.
For the cloudiest night has a hint of light
Somewhere in its shadows hiding;
It is better by far to hunt for a star,
Than the spots on the sun abiding.

The current of life runs ever away
To the bosom of God's great ocean.
Don't set your force 'gainst the river's course
And think to alter its motion.
Don't waste a curse on the universe —
Remember it lived before you.
Don't butt at the storm with your puny form,
But bend and let it go o'er you.

The world will never adjust itself
To suit your whims to the letter.
Some things must go wrong your whole life long,
And the sooner you know it the better.
It is folly to fight with the Infinite,
And go under at last in the wrestle;
The wiser man shapes into God's plan
As water shapes into a vessel.

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.


Post New Comment:
Couldn't agree more. So well put!
Posted 11/12/2021 12:28 AM
Oh, the wisdom! Ill have to read this over a few times more.
Posted 11/11/2021 04:59 PM
Arlene Gay Levine:
Moving, brilliant and worth inscribing on all our hearts! Thanks, Ella, and Jayne for sharing it.
Posted 11/10/2021 11:57 AM
Darrell Arnold:
Truly wonderful work. I wish I could turn out work like this. Brilliant in concept, construction, and wisdom.
Posted 11/10/2021 10:36 AM
This wise, expressive poem is one of the best I've read lately, and I read a LOT of poetry. Great internal rhyming too
Posted 11/10/2021 09:58 AM
Indispensable wisdom . . . one of the purposes of poetry!
Posted 11/10/2021 08:44 AM
Dear Ella, Yes it is far better to look on the positive, 'bright' side of this life we live than to argue and strain with what we cannot control in any case!
Posted 11/10/2021 08:41 AM
Ella Wheeler Wilcox can do no wrong. Wonderful.
Posted 11/10/2021 07:48 AM

Contents of this web site and all original text and images therein are copyright © by Your Daily Poem. All rights reserved.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Purchasing books through any poet's Amazon links helps to support Your Daily Poem.
The material on this site may not be copied, reproduced, downloaded, distributed, transmitted, stored, altered, adapted,
or otherwise used in any way without the express written permission of the owner.