I think of things I might have done and sights I might have seen;
the many claims I might have staked—the me I might have been.
When I review my sordid past in search of whom to blame,
I realize the guilty party doesn't have a name.
It isn't someone that I've known but something that I've heard.
You see, the things that held me back were poorly-chosen words.
"Too big to dance! " "Too short to play! " "You'll never do that well! "
Who said these cruel and hurtful things? I really couldn't tell.
'Cause after this long, speakers' names are not recalled with dread.
With bitter words, it's not so much who spoke as what was said.
The things we say will be recalled long after we are gone.
And hurtful words, once they've been uttered, cannot be withdrawn.
So mind your tongue, and always choose your words with utmost care.
For painful words you say today, tomorrow bring despair.
William Chaplar's Other Poems
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