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Art Thou Alive?
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Art thou alive? Nay, not too soon reply,
Tho’ hand, and foot, and lip, and ear, and eye,
Respond, and do thy bidding yet may be
Grim death has done his direst work with thee.
Life, as God gives it, is a thing apart
From active body and from beating heart.
It is the vital spark, the unseen fire,
That moves the mind to reason and aspire;
It is the force that bids emotion roll,
In mighty billows from the surging soul.
It is the light that grows from hour to hour,
And floods the brain with consciousness of power;
It is the spirit dominating all,
And reaching God with its imperious call,
Until the shining glory of His face
Illuminates each sorrowful, dark place;
It is the truth that sets the bondsman free,
Knowing he will be what he wills to be.
With its unburied dead the earth is sad.
Art thou alive? proclaim it and be glad.
Perchance the dead may hear thee and arise,
Knowing they live, and here is Paradise.



My search of WordPress led me to this extract from a post of interest: Deed Seeds Revisited, by Nancy Ruegg. I enjoy the method of linking together the circumstances in the example. Clearly, from my perspective, I do not more than plant seeds. If these seeds that I post do some good, I often may not at all ever know. Sometime readers give me credit. I feel though that the credit is that God connects us. I am doing what I can to be a channel of His will. This human form is not in any sense a source of the glorious eternal.

Here is an edit from Nancy’s post:

“With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.”
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox, author and poet, 1850-1919

Observation #1:

We never know when a small deed may plant a seed of faith or encouragement. We never know when that seed will reap a bountiful harvest in the life of someone else.

Live attentively to the fact that every deed is a seed. The people around us are watching and listening.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the story of a church elder who once led a worship service for two. It happened over 150 years ago in England. A blizzard on Saturday night made it impossible for villagers to get to the church—including the pastor. The elder almost sent home the two individuals who had come, an older man and a young boy. But something (Someone?) compelled him to speak. Later he confessed his words came out rather jumbled and brusque. The elder planted a seed that took root. The young boy accepted Jesus as his Savior that day. His name? Charles Spurgeon — preacher and author. For an example of Dr. Spurgeon’s God-given genius, see: Not Length But Strength.


Observation #2:

Our responsibility is the planting of “deed seeds”; the harvest is up to God.

The same principle that works in the physical realm works in the spiritual realm. A farmer may plant, fertilize, and water, but the germination of each seed is a miracle only God can bring about. Don’t become tightly focused on results.

The elder who led Charles Spurgeon to the Lord that snowy, wintry day, had no idea the boy would grow up to have such a profound effect on the world. We know, and we marvel.


Observation #3:

The true harvest is not measurable in physical terms, and it’s hidden from view in the spiritual realm.

Only now and then does God give us a glimpse of what our deeds accomplish. Imagine the joy that elder continues to experience every time a saint comes through the gates of heaven–fourth and fifth generation Christians, who have been influenced by Charles Spurgeon, whose ancestors accepted Jesus because of him. In addition, thousands  have been influenced and encouraged by the preacher’s writings. It all began with that faithful elder.

You see, the positive influence of a man or woman of God never dies.


Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850 — October 30, 1919) was an American author and poet. Her best-known work was Poems of Passion. Her most enduring work was ” Solitude”, which contains the lines: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone”. Her autobiography, The Worlds and I, was published in 1918, a year before her death.

Ella Wheeler was born in 1850 on a farm in Johnstown, Wisconsin, east of Janesville, the youngest of four children. The family soon moved north of Madison. She started writing poetry at a very early age, and was well known as a poet in her own state by the time she graduated from high school.

Her most famous poem, “Solitude”, was first published in the February 25, 1883 issue of The New York Sun. The inspiration for the poem came as she was travelling to attend the Governor’s inaugural ball in Madison, Wisconsin. On her way to the celebration, there was a young woman dressed in black sitting across the aisle from her. The woman was crying. Miss Wheeler sat next to her and sought to comfort her for the rest of the journey. When they arrived, the poet was so depressed that she could barely attend the scheduled festivities. As she looked at her own radiant face in the mirror, she suddenly recalled the sorrowful widow. It was at that moment that she wrote the opening lines of “Solitude”

Laugh, and the world laughs with you
Weep, and you weep alone.