The Question – A Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I love poetry. I don’t read enough of it. What I love about it, is the elegant way in which it forces us to change our perspective about the world around us. I recently came across a poem, The Question by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

For me, The Question is a Momento Mori. I enjoyed reading it so much, that I downloaded a text to speech app and recorded my phone reading the poem. I imported the poem into logic with a loop of the synth. I imported drum samples and created the groove to go along with the synth sample, and then chopped the poem to reflect the rhythm that I heard when I first read it.

Poetry – and lyrics for that matter – take the 2 dimensional landscape of language and add the 3rd dimension of music. That’s what I hope to with this poem. I hope that I can convey the emotion of The Question with the music I created for it. 

Here’s a copy of the Poem (p.s This poem is in the public domain.)



Beside us in our seeking after pleasures, 
    Through all our restless striving after fame, 
Through all our search for worldly gains and treasures, 
    There walketh one whom no man likes to name. 
Silent he follows, veiled of form and feature, 
    Indifferent if we sorrow or rejoice, 
Yet that day comes when every living creature 
    Must look upon his face and hear his voice.

When that day comes to you, and Death. unmasking, 
    Shall bar your path, and say, “Behold the end,” 
What are the questions that he will be asking 
    About your past? Have you considered, friend? 
I think he will not chide you for your sinning, 
    Nor for your creeds or dogmas will he care; 
He will but ask, “From your life’s first beginning 
    How many burdens have you helped to bear?

7 Replies to “The Question – A Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox”

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