Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

If all the troubles in the world
   Were traced back to their start,
We'd find not one in ten begun
   From want of willing heart,
But there's a sly woe-working elf
   Who lurks about youth's brink,
And sure dismay he brings always--
   The elf "I didn't think."

He seems so sorry when he's caught,
   His mien is all contrite,
He so regrets the woe he's wrought
   And wants to make things right.
But wishes do not heal a wound
   Or weld a broken link,
The heart aches on, the link is gone--
   All through "I didn't think."

I half believe that ugly sprite,
   Bold, wicked, "I don't care,"
In life's long run less harm has done
   Because he is so rare.
And one can be so stern with him,
   Can make the monster shrink;
But, lack-a-day, what can you say
   To whining "Didn't think?"

This most unpleasant imp of strife
   Pursues us everywhere,
There's scarcely one whole day of life
   He does not cause us care;
Small woes and great he brings the world,
   Strong ships are forced to sink,
And trains from iron tracks are hurled
   By stupid "Didn't think."

When brain is comrade to the heart,
   And heart from soul draws grace,
"I didn't think" will quick depart
   For lack of resting place.
If from that great unselfish stream
   The Golden Rule, we drink,
We'll keep God's laws and have no cause
   To say: "I didn't think."

[Unknown Newspaper, No Date]

Courtesy of Ardena Gumm.
Transcribed by Rich Edwards

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