‘Twas but a word, a careless word 

As thistle-down it seemed as light; 

It paused a moment on the air,

And onward then it winged its flight.

Another lip caught up the word,

And breathed it with a haughty sneer;

It gathered weight as on it sped, 

That careless word, in its career.

Then rumor caught the flying word, 

And busy gossip gave it weight,

Until that little word became 

A vehicle of angry hate.

And then that word was winged with fire;

Its mission was a thing of pain; 

For soon it fell like lava-drops

Upon a wildly tortured brain.

And then another page of life

With burning, scalding tears was blurred; 

A load of care was heavier made,

Its added weight, a careless word.

How wildly throbbed that aching heart!

Deep agony its fountain stirred; 

It calmed, but bitter ashes mark

The pathway of that careless word.