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The Tulip Bed At Greeley Square
Ella Wheeler Wilcox


You know that oasis, fresh and fair 
In the city desert, as Greeley square?

That bright triangle of scented bloom 
That lies surrounded by grime and gloom?

Right in the breast of the seething town 
Like a gleaming gem or a wanton's gown?

Ah, wonderful things that tulip bed 
Unto my listening soul has said.

Over the rattle and roar of the street 
I hear a chorus of voices sweet,

Day and night, when I pass that way, 
And these are the things the voices say:

"Here, in the heart of the foolish strife, 
We live a simple and natural life.

"Here, in the midst of the clash and din, 
We know what it is to be calm within.

"Here, environed by sin and shame, 
We do what we can with our pure white flame.

"We do what we can with our bloom and grace, 
To make the city a fairer place.

"It is well to be good though the world is vile, 
And so through the dust and the smoke we smile,

"We are but atoms in chaos tossed, 
Yet never a purpose for truth was lost."

Ah, many a sermon is uttered there 
By the bed of blossoms in Greeley square.

And he who listens and hears aright, 
Is better equipped for the world's hard fight.

From Custer and other poems
 by Ella Wheeler Wilcox 
(W. B. Conkey Company Chicago, Ill.,1896)


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:
The poems of Ella Wheeler Wilcox somehow remain as fresh blooms, never wilting.
Posted 03/20/2017 11:36 AM
I absolutely LOVE it! Janice
Posted 03/20/2017 07:52 AM
My favorite flower is the bitterroot which brings beauty to dry spaces.
Posted 03/20/2017 07:45 AM
Such a pretty poem
Posted 03/20/2017 06:51 AM
Jean :D:
"In the city desert...." Every town, village,or city should have this in it's center, that all could hear the sermon uttered there.
Posted 03/20/2017 06:44 AM
"We are but atoms in chaos tossed", just a great line from the "swell gal",Ms. Wilcox was.
Posted 03/20/2017 04:41 AM

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