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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


There are so many little things which make life beautiful.
I can recall a day in early youth when I was longing for happiness.
Toward the western hills I gazed, watching for its approach.
The hills lay between me and the setting sun, and over them led a highway.
When some traveler crossed the hill, always a fine gray dust rose cloudlike against the sky.
The traveler I could not distinguish, but the dust-cloud I could see.

And the dust-cloud seemed formed of hopes and possibilities--each speck an embryo event.
At sunset, when the skies were fair, the dust-cloud grew radiant and shone with visions.
The happiness for which I waited came not to me adown that western slope.
But now I can recall the cloud of golden dust, the sunset, and the highway leading over the hill,
The wonderful hope and expectancy of my heart, the visions of youth in my eyes; and I know this was happiness.

There are so many little things which make life beautiful.
I can recall another day when I rebelled at life's monotony.
Everywhere about me was the commonplace; and nothing seemed to happen.
Each day was like its yesterday, and to-morrow gave no promise of change.
My young heart rose rebellious in my breast, and I ran aimlessly into the sunlight--the glowing sunlight of June.

I sent out a dumb cry to Fate, demanding larger joys and more delight.
I ran blindly into a field of blooming clover.

It was breast-high, and billowed about me like rose-red waves of a fragrant sea.
The bees were singing above it; and their little brown bodies were loaded with honey-dew, extracted from the clover blossoms.
The sun reeled in the heavens, dizzy with its own splendor.
The day went into night, without bringing any new event to change my life.
But now I recall the field of blooming clover and the honey-laden bees, the glorious June sunlight and the passion of youth in my heart; and I know that was happiness.

There are so many little things which make life beautiful.
Yesterday a failure stared me in the face, where I had thought to welcome proud success.
There was no radiant cloud of dust against the western sky, and no clover field lying fragrant under mid-June suns;
Neither was youth with me any more.

But under the vines that clung against my walls, a flock of birds sought shelter just at twilight;
And, standing at my casement, I could hear the twitter of their voices and the soft, sweet flutter of their wings.
Then over me there fell a sense of peace and calm, and love for all created things, and trust illimitable.

And that, I knew, was happiness.

There are so many little things which make life beautiful.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Birth of the Opal
  2. The Awakening (I love the tropics, where sun and rain)
  3. The Chain
  4. At Forty-Eight
  5. Intermediary

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Alan Milne Happiness ("John had")
  • Amy Lowell Happiness ("Happiness, to some, elation")
  • Edith Wharton Happiness ("THIS perfect love can find no words to say")

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