That scathing word I used in scorn
(Though half a century ago)
Comes back to me this April morn,
Like boomerang to work me woe;
Comes back to me with bitter blame
(Though apple boughs are blossoming),
And oh! the anguish of my shame
Is sharper than a serpent’s sting!
Age sensitizes us to pain,
And when remembrance of some word
We spoke in wrath return again,
It stab is like a driven sword. . . .
And if in some celestial span
Our hearts in penitence may bleed
For all the hurt we’ve done to man –
Ah, that would be a hell indeed!
So friends, be careful of your words,
Though other breasts may meet their steel,
Lest they return like vengeful swords,
Till yours the wounds that never heal,
For Age the heart to mercy mellows;
Foul memories haunt like evil elves:
Let us be gentle to our fellows,
And win God’s mercy for ourselves.