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Author Unknown


It was only a sunny smile,
And little it cost in the giving;
But it scattered the night
Like morning light,
And made the day worth living.
Through life’s dull warp a woof it wove
In shining colors of hope and love;
And the angels smiled as they watched above,
Yet little it cost in the giving.

It was only a kindly word,
A word that was lightly spoken;
Yet not in vain,
For it stilled the pain
Of a heart that was nearly broken.
It strengthened a faith beset by fears
And groping blindly through mists of tears
For light to brighten the coming years,
Although it was lightly spoken.

It was only a helping hand,
And it seemed of little availing,
But its clasp was warm,
And it saved from harm
A brother whose strength was failing.
Its touch was tender as angel wings,
But it rolled the stone from the hidden springs,
And pointed the way to higher things,
Though it seemed of little availing.

A smile, a word, a touch,
And each is easily given;
Yet either may win
A soul from sin
Or smooth the way to heaven,
A smile may lighten the failing heart,
A word may soften pain's keenest smart,
A touch may lead us from sin apart,
How easily either is given!

This poem is in the public domain.


The first five lines of this poem have, for many years, been attributed as a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald. However, recent research shows that those five lines are from this poem, which first appeared in print in The Western Teacher: A Monthly Journal for Progressive Teachers (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March 1893). Sadly, the author remains unknown at this time.

Post New Comment:
A wonderful choice, Jayne! And so true.
Posted 07/28/2023 01:31 PM
heartening words - yes kindness is so undervalued in the world
Posted 07/28/2023 01:29 AM
Love the limerick/ballad repeating structure of each stanza. We should set it to music.
Posted 07/27/2023 11:23 AM
Excellent research!
Posted 07/27/2023 10:54 AM
Darrell Arnold:
I am impressed by the structure and format of this rhymed and metered poem. I am going to hang onto it, and, when I'm feeling clever enough, I'll try to duplicate it with a poem of my own. It's truly remarkable in form and message.
Posted 07/27/2023 08:30 AM
Darrell Arnold:
God Bless You Jayne, for ferreting out this entire, amazing poem and the information about it. Little gestures of kindness matter, often more than we know. I try, daily, in my job as a cashier in a large marketplace, to put a smile on the face of those who don't have one. Most of the time it works. Sometimes, sadly, it doesn't.
Posted 07/27/2023 08:26 AM

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