Only a look and a motion that nobody saw
or heard.

Only a look and a motion that nobody saw
or heard.
Past in a moment and over, with never the
sound of a word;
Streams of converse around me smoothly and
cheerily flow,
But a terrible stab has been given, a silent and
staggering blow.

Guesses the hand that gave it hardly a tithe of
the smart,
Nothing at all of the anguish that fiercely leapt
up in my heart,
Scorching and scathing its peace, while a trem-
ulous nerve to the brain
Flashed up a telegram sudden, a message of
quivering pain.

They must be merry without me, for how can
I sing to-night?
They will only think I am tired, and thought-
fully shade the light;
Finger and voice would fail while the wound is
open and sore;
Bleeding away the strength I had gathered for
days before.

Only a look and a motion! Yes, but we little
How from each dwarf-like "only" a giant of
power may grow:
The thundering avalanche crushes, loosened by
only a breath,
And only a colorless drop may be laden with
sudden death.

Only a word of command, but it loses or wins
the field;
Only a stroke of the pen, but a heart is broken
or healed;
Only a step may sever, pole-wide, future and
Only a touch may rivet links which for life
shall last.

Only a look and a motion!  Why was the
wound so deep?
Were it no echo of sorrow, hushed for awhile
to sleep,
Were  it no shadow of fear, far o'er the future
Slight were the suffering now, if it bore on the
present alone.

Ah! I would smile it away, but 'tis all too fresh
and too keen;
Perhaps I may some day recall it as if it had
never been;
Now I can only be still, and endure where I
cannot cope,
Praying for meekness and patience, praying for
faith and hope.

Is it an answer already that words to my mind
are brought,
Floating like shining liles on waters of gloom-
iest thought?
Simple and short is the sentence, but oh! what
it comprehends!
"Those with which I was wounded, in the house
of My friends."

Floating still on my heart, while I listen again
and again,
Stilling the anxious throbbing, soothing the icy
Proving its sacred mission healing and balm to
"Coming?"  Yes, if you want me!  Yes, I am
ready to sing.

~ Frances Ridley Havergal