The Word

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   Oh, a word is a gem, or a stone, or a song,
      Or a flame, or a two-edged sword;
   Or a rose in bloom, or a sweet perfume,
      Or a drop of gall, is a word.

   You may choose your word like a connoisseur,
      And polish it up with art,
   But the word that sways, and stirs, and stays,
      Is the word that comes from the heart.

   You may work on your word a thousand weeks,
      But it will not glow like one
   That all unsought, leaps forth white hot,
      When the fountains of feeling run.

   You may hammer away on the anvil of thought,
      And fashion your word with care,
   But unless you are stirred to the depths, that word
      Shall die on the empty air.

   For the word that comes from the brain alone,
      Alone to the brain will speed;
   But the word that sways, and stirs, and stays,
      Oh! that is the word men heed.

 

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