Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nov. 5, 1850 - Oct. 30, 1919


Was, Is, And Yet-To-Be

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Was, Is, and Yet-to-Be
Were chatting over a cup of tea.

In tarnished finery smelling of must,
Was talked of people long turned to dust;

Of titles and honours and high estate,
All forgotten or out of date;

Of wonderful feasts in the long ago,
Of pride that perished with nothing to show.

I loathe the present, said Was, with a groan;
I live in pleasures that I have known.

The Yet-to-be, in a gown of gauze,
Looked over the head of musty Was,

And gazed far off into misty space
With a wrapt expression upon her face.

Such wonderful pleasures are coming to me,
Such glory, such honour,
said Yet-to-be.

No one dreamed, in the vast Has-Been,
Of such successes as I shall win.

The past, the present -- why, what are they?
I live for the joy of a future day.

Then practical Is, in a fresh print dress,
Spoke up with a laugh, I must confess

I find to-day so pleasant, she said,
I never look back, and seldom ahead.

Whatever has been, is a finished sum;
Whatever will be -- why, let it come.

To-day is mine. And so, you see,
I have the past and the yet-to-be;

For to-day is the future of yesterday,
And the past of to-morrow. I live while I may,

"And I think the secret of pleasure is this,
And this alone," said practical Is.


Poems of Sentiment
Copyright 1911
Gay And Hancock, Ltd., London

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