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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Word

Oh, a word is a gem, or a stone, or a song,
    Or a flame, or a two-edged sword;
Or a rose in bloom, or a sweet perfume,
    Or a drop of gall, is a word.

You may choose your word like a connoisseur,
    And polish it up with art,
But the word that sways, and stirs, and stays,
    Is the word that comes from the heart.

You may work on your word a thousand weeks,
    But it will not glow like one
That all unsought, leaps forth white hot,
    When the fountains of feeling run.

You may hammer away on the anvil of thought,
    And fashion your word with care,
But unless you are stirred to the depths, that word
    Shall die on the empty air.

For the word that comes from the brain alone,
    Alone to the brain will speed;
But the word that sways, and stirs, and stays,
    Oh! that is the word men heed. 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Birth of the Opal
  2. At Forty-Eight
  3. Artist and Man
  4. As by Fire
  5. But a Dream

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Edward Thomas The Word ("There are so many things I have forgot")

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