In golden youth when seems the earth
A Summer-land of singing mirth,
When souls are glad and hearts are light,
And not a shadow lurks in sight,
We do not know it, but there lies
Somewhere veiled under evening skies
A garden which we all must see –
The garden of Gethsemane.
With joyous steps we go our ways,
Love lends a halo to our days;
Light sorrows sail like clouds afar,
We laugh, and say how strong we are.
We hurry on; and hurrying, go
Close to the border-land of woe,
That waits for you, and waits for me –
Forever waits Gethsemane.
Down shadowy lanes, across strange streams,
Bridged over by our broken dreams;
Behind the misty caps of years,
Beyond the great salt fount of tears,
The garden lies. Strive as you may,
You cannot miss it in your way.
All paths that have been, or shall be,
Pass somewhere through Gethsemane.
All those who journey, soon or late,
Must pass within the garden’s gate;
Must kneel alone in darkness there,
And battle with some fierce despair
God pity those who cannot say,
“Not mine but thine,” who only pray,
“Let this cup pass,” and cannot see
The purpose in Gethsemane.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox was a popular American poet and novelist in the late 19th century. This poem was published in a volume titled Poems of Power (Chicago: W. B. Conkey, 1902), and is in the public domain