YOU NEVER CAN TELL

YOU never can tell when you send a word--
    Like an arrow shot from a bow
By an archer blind--be it cruel or kind,
    Just where it will chance to go.
It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend,
    Tipped with its poison or balm ;
To a stranger's heart in life's great mart
    It may carry its pain or its calm.

You never can tell when you do an act
    Just what the result will be ;
But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
    Though the harvest you may not see.
Each kindly act is an acorn dropped
    In God's productive soil ;
You may not know ; yet the tree shall grow
    And shelter the brows that toil.

You never can tell what your thoughts will do
    In bringing you hate or love ;
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
    Are swifter than carrier doves.
They follow the law of the universe--
    Each thing must create its kind ;
And they speed o'er the track to bring you back
    Whatever went out from your mind.

--Ella Wheeler Wilcox in Munsey's Magazine.
[See Munsey's Magazine 12 (February 1895): 471.]

The New York Times 3 Mar. 1895: 18.

Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.


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