It isn’t the thing you do, friend, it’s the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you the bitter heartache, at the setting of the sun:
The tender words unspoken, to letter you did not write,
The flowers you might have sent, are your haunting ghosts at night.
The stone you might have lifted, out of a dear friend’s way,
The bit of heartfelt counsel you were hurried too much to say:
The loving touch of a helping hand, 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 night and silence, each chill reproachful wraith,
When hope is faint and flagging and a blight has dropped on faith.
For life is all too short, friend, and sorrow is all too great,
To suffer our slow compassion, that tarries until too late.
So, it’s not the things you do, it’s the deeds you leave undone,
Which gives you a bitter heartache, at the setting of the sun.
© Bertha A. Lawson.