12 Jun

The gift of speech is a very terrible thing O Man
Keep watch over thy tongue lest it betray thee
Try how thou wilt
Thou canst not hide thyself
No word of thine but reveals some corner of thy heart
No phrase but lays bare some secret place.

Keep watch
Thou dost not know thy power
Though thou hadst never imagined it
It may be that someone hangs upon thy slightest word
Once chance word and the whole course of his life

is made beautiful
Another, and all the devils of hell enter into his soul.

Keep watch
Make thyself clean and true
That as thou goes through life
Tired men may hear thy words and find strength in them
And though they knew it not
They shall bless thee in their hearts

“Speech”, 1923
WH Auden


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