Be not attached

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Be not attached
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
From Poems of Experience (1917)

‘Be not attached.’ So runs the great command
For those who seek to ‘know’ and ‘understand.’
Who sounds the waters of the deeper sea
Must first draw up his anchor and go free.

But not for me, that knowledge. I must wait
Until again I enter through life’s gate.
I am not brave enough to sail away
To farther seas, and leave this beauteous bay.

Love barnacled, my anchor lies; and oh!
I would not lift it if I could, and go
All unattached, to find those truths which lie
Far out at sea, beneath a lonely sky.

Though peace of heart, and happiness of soul,
Await the seeker at that farther goal,
With love and all its rapture and its pain,
Close to the shores of earth I must remain.

Nor yet would I relinquish my sweet dream
To gain possession of the Fact supreme.
I am attached, and well content to stay,
Learning such truths as love may send my way.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1919, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.