Here you will find the Poem The Careless Word of poet Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton
A WORD is ringing thro' my brain, It was not meant to give me pain; It had no tone to bid it stay, When other things had past away; It had no meaning more than all Which in an idle hour fall: It was when first the sound I heard A lightly uttered, careless word. That word--oh! it doth haunt me now, In scenes of joy, in scenes of woe; By night, by day, in sun or shade, With the half smile that gently played Reproachfully, and gave the sound Eternal power thro' life to wound. There is no voice I ever heard, So deeply fix'd as that one word. When in the laughing crowd some tone, Like those whose joyous sound is gone, Strikes on my ear, I shrink--for then The careless word comes back again. When all alone I sit and gaze Upon the cheerful home-fire blaze, Lo! freshly as when first 'twas heard, Returns that lightly uttered word. When dreams bring back the days of old; With all that wishes could not hold; And from my feverish couch I start To press a shadow to my heart-- Amid its beating echoes, clear That little word I seem to hear: In vain I say, while it is heard, Why weep?--'twas but a foolish word. It comes--and with it come the tears, The hopes, the joys of former years; Forgotten smiles, forgotten looks, Thick as dead leaves on autumn brooks, And all as joyless, though they were The brightest things life's spring could share. Oh! would to God I ne'er had heard That lightly uttered, careless word! It was the first, the only one Of those which lips for ever gone Breathed in their love--which had for me Rebuke of harshness at my glee: And if those lips were here to say, 'Beloved, let it pass away,' Ah! then, perchance--but I have heard The last dear tone--the careless word! Oh! ye who, meeting, sigh to part, Whose words are treasures to some heart, Deal gently, ere the dark days come, When earth hath but for one a home; Lest, musing o'er the past, like me, They feel their hearts wrung bitterly, And, heeding not what else they heard, Dwell weeping on a careless word.