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Speak Kindly

by Kate Slaughter McKinney

Speak kindly in the morning,
When you are leaving home,
And give the day a lighter heart
Into the week to roam.
Leave kind words as mementoes
To be handled and caressed,
And watch the noon-time hour arrive
In gold and tinsel dressed.

Speak kindly in the evening!
When on the walk is heard
A tired footstep that you know,
Speak one refreshing word,
And see the glad light springing
From the heart into the eye,
As sometimes from behind a cloud
A star leaps to the sky.

Speak kindly to the children
That crowd around your chair,
The tender lips that lean on yours
Kiss, smooth the flaxen hair;
Some day a room that’s lonesome
The little ones may own,
And home be empty as the nest
From which the birds have flown.

Speak kindly to the stranger
Who passes through the town,
A loving word is light of weight—
Not so would prove a frown.
One is a precious jewel
The heart would grasp in sleep,
The other like a demon’s gift
The memory loathes to keep.

Speak kindly to the sorrowful
Who stand beside the dead,
The heart can lean against a word
Though thorny seems the bed.
And oh, to those discouraged
Who faint upon the way,
Stop, stop—if just a moment—
And something kindly say.

Speak kindly to the fallen ones,
Your voice may help them rise;
A word right-spoken oft unclasps
The gate beyond the skies.
Speak kindly, and the future
You’ll find God looking through!
Speak of another as you’d have
Him always speak of you.