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About this Poem 

“The Word” originally appeared in New Thought Pastels (Elizabeth Towne, 1906).

 

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.
 

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox was born in 1850 in Johnstown Center, Wisconsin. Her poetry collections include Poems of Passion (W. B. Conkey Company, 1883) and Poems of Peace (Gay & Bird, 1906).

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Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
     Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
    

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Oh! we love all the French, and we speak in French
As along through France we go.
But the moments to us that are keen and sweet
Are the ones when our khaki boys we meet,
Stalwart and handsome and trim and neat;
And we call to them—‘Boys, hello!’
‘Hello, American boys,
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Through all the weary, hot midsummer time,
My heart has struggled with its awful grief.
And I have waited for these autumn days,
Thinking the cooling winds would bring relief.
For I remembered how I loved them once,
When all my life was full of melody.
And I have looked and longed for