One Word [poem by Menie Parkes]

[Editor: This poem by Menie Parkes was published in Poems (1867).]

One Word.

A little word, a little word,
And very lightly spoken!
’Twas gently uttered, gaily heard,
Answered with smiles unbroken;
Yet it struck like heavy lead,
Scorched as hissing fire,
Pierced me through the heart and head,
Like a white-heated wire.

A little word, a little word!
So light the sound it wafted,
The air was very faintly stirred,
Yet it was deadly-shafted.
I cannot lift my smarting eyes,
My soul sinks low with care;
Your loving words I cannot prize,
Nor trust those smiles you wear.

A little word, a little word!
And you believed it true;
Yet, oh, I wish I had not heard
It, even so, from you:
Was there no other lip to sneer?
Could none else give me pain?
Alas! I never wish to hear
Your pleasant voice again.

Menie Parkes, Poems, F. Cunninghame, Sydney, [1867], pages 120-121

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