Pause for Poetry-It Isn’t the Thing You Do, Dear

It Isn’t the Thing You Do, Dear

Adelaide Proctor

It isn’t the things you do, dear

It’s the things you leave undone,

That gives you the bitter heartache

At the setting of the sun;


The tender word unspoken,

The letter you did not write,

The flower you might have sent, dear

Are your haunting ghosts at night.


The stone you might have lifted

Out of your brother’s way,

The bit of heartfelt counsel

You were hurried too much to say;


The loving touch of the hand dear,

The gentle and winsome tone,

That you had no time or thought for,

With troubles enough of your own.


These little acts of kindness,

So easily out of mind,

These chances to be angels,

Which even mortals find.


They come in nights of silence,

To take away the grief,

When hope is faint and feeble,

And a drought has stopped belief.


A life is all too short, dear,

And sorrow is all too great,

To allow our slow compassion

That tarries until too late.


And its not the thing you do, dear,

Its the thing you leave undone,

That gives you the bitter heartache,

At the setting sun.

Adelaide Proctor

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