BY ELLA WHEELER WILCOX
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its 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 large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.
She wrote these words after she encountered a grieving widow. She gave comfort to the woman as she cried, but Ella was on her way to a ball and while there was overcome with sadness from the widow.
This poem at first seems to encourage those who are sad to overcome their grief, but then concludes that we all will have pain in our lives and others will not be able to comfort us. I have experienced this and while isolating ourselves can be detrimental to our mental health over the long term, solitude is not the same as loneliness. Solitude is a chosen condition to work through our emotions while loneliness is a feeling of wanting to be with others, but unable to do so. Solitude can be a symptom of depression and those who find themselves often withdrawing from the company of others may need more than some time alone.
I created this piece from a couple of stock images (I hope to have resources soon to take original photos for my art) and wanted to convey the darkness that is felt when grieving. It can be so all consuming that we feel we will never recover. Some people don't. They give into the grief and are never the same. It is my hope that all those who are grieving or suffering from depression will find comfort and relief so that they may once again enjoy all the beautiful things this world has to offer.
Hi, I'm Kathleen! I'm a photographer, digital artist, and mom of two. I love to travel and spend time with my kids. I'll mostly be sharing recent photo sessions on my blog, but might have a few other articles here and there. Thanks for joining me!