#491…sci, relig, ETC: “Poems: Obvious, Deep, and In-between”


Poems are never grouped like this, although (quietly) we might find this a sensible way…


One ship sails East

And one sails West,

By the self-same wind that blows.

It’s not the gale,

But the set of the sail

That determines the way it goes.


–Ella Wheeler Wilcox¹


           For more use the DOOR.




   For those who sail–even very small boats–it’s the wind behind you, ahead of you, or at angles to you and how you turn the tiller to change the direction of the rudder that determines direction.

   The same wind from any direction can send several boats to several different places. You can do this even by using a seemingly uncooperative wind and tacking back and forth at angles against it. You must have some wind, however.

   How well one does depends on who turns the tiller and how he does it.

   This is worth a week or two (that’s enough) on the refrigerator door of parents, grandparents, and teachers. [For other poems, check out A Pillar of Pepper (see sidebar on right)  🙂 ]


   ¹ Ella Wheeler Wilcox (American, 1850-1919) is best known for her enduring line, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone,” from her poem “Solitude.” She is best known for her book of poetry, Poems of Passion, and her inclusion in anthologies of bad poetry such as The Stuffed Owl: an Anthology of Bad Verse and Very Bad Poetry, and Sinclair Lewis’s derisive association of her poetry with his Babbitt. She sold a bunch of books in her time, however. The poem here by Wilcox, appeared in a thin old book, I Wish I’d Known at 21 (Lawson & Jones, London, Ontario, Canada, 1966) by J. Marvin Shaw, Chairman of the Board of The Noxzema Chemical Co. Canada, LTD. Slight modification of the text was made. Poems, of course, come in three levels: (1) obvious (and often clichéd and shallow), (2) deep (though often pompous and unintelligible), and (3) in-between. No one can claim this is deep. And if you insist that poems must have a worthy lesson (groan), this one does.

Author: John Knapp