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You Never Can Tell
by
Ella Wheeler Wilcox


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You never can tell when you send a word,
Like an arrow shot from a bow
By an archer blind, be it cruel or kind,
Just where it may chance to go.
It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend.
Tipped with its poison or balm,
To a stranger's heart in life's great mart,
It may carry its pain or its calm.

You never can tell when you do an act
Just what the result will be;
But with every deed
 you are sowing a seed,
Though the harvest
 you may not see.
Each kindly act is an acorn dropped
In God's productive soil
You may not know, but the tree shall grow,
With shelter for those who toil.

You never can tell what your thoughts will do,
In bringing
 you hate or love;
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
Are swifter than carrier doves.
They follow the law of the universe -
Each thing must create its kind,
And they speed o'er the track to bring
 you back
Whatever went out from your mind.

 

This poem is in the public domain.

 




Purchase a framed print of this poem.

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.

 


New comments are closed for now.
transitions:
Wonderful poem; true....
Posted 05/07/2017 04:58 PM
paradea:
This is a fantastic poem, one to read each morning, to remind us how best to be!!!
Posted 05/07/2017 08:46 AM
Jancan:
What a GREAT poem--in all respects! Janice
Posted 05/07/2017 08:25 AM
JanetruthMartin:
a gem!
Posted 05/07/2017 07:52 AM
KevinArnold:
EWW continues as one of my favorites.
Posted 05/07/2017 03:14 AM


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