Wednesday, December 28, 2016

"Sing, and the hills will answer; Sigh, it is lost on the air."

I'm tired of gloom and doom, political fear and frenzy, but I'm also tired of oft recommended self-help measures to deal with the aforementioned. Sometimes I get to the point of just not caring any more!

A century or so ago there was a poet who, in her day, acted much as self-help gurus do today, but whose words I much prefer:
Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Unsophisticated, sincere, clear and optimistic, those are characteristics which shine through the poems of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Let the literary elite scoff, her poems have pleased many more people than those of gloomy, suicidal, self-obsessed poets.

As well as a poet Ella was a mystic, and a Rosicrucian. She was born 5 Nov 1850 in Johnstown Wisconsin. Her Sun and Mars in Scorpio no doubt led her into mysticism, while Moon possibly in Sagittarius with Venus, led the optimistic attitude for which she became famous.

12 noon chart shown as no time of birth is known.

The writer's planet Mercury was in fair and balanced Libra, along with Jupiter. These two planets were opposed from Aries, Mercury by Uranus and Pluto, Jupiter by Saturn. The Mercury opposition was sweetened by harmonious sextile to Venus and trine from Venus to Uranus/Pluto, setting up a powerfully helpful configuration for her writing. The opposition between Saturn and Jupiter held Ella's exuberant hopeful spirit, which might otherwise have gone "over the top", in check and at a reasonably credible level.

"Ella Wheeler Wilcox is one of America’s great writers. Her prolific prose and poetry are a tour de force of optimism, of the triumph of hope over despair, of victory over failure, of good over evil, of kindness over selfishness. She gave no quarter to negativity. The harshness of life was but an opportunity to change lead into gold. She was a transcendental alchemist. She had a mastery of expressing with words the play of light and hope and creativity upon dreariness and hopelessness and destructiveness.

We have many good, more sophisticated writers. However, Ms. Wilcox’s strength is her simplicity. She had the knack of getting to the heart of the most complex of everyday human problems. Then, she’d come up with the most simply worded and highly potent answers. She’d do this in prose. She’d do it with a poem. For example, she appreciated the need for, and the beauty of, our diverse religious faiths. However, she recognized the danger of adherents of any one faith considering their faith the only true one for all humanity. Deftly, she steers her readers away from the dangers of divisiveness. She simply stressed the basic core of all faiths when she wrote:

So many Gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
When just the art of being kind
Is all this sad world needs."
(From HERE)

A quote from her poem "Solitude" - opening lines are well-known:
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.

For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

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