THE TENDERNESS I LOVE
I love tenderness. Yea, but it must be strong.
It shall not speak soft words nor lisp them.
It shall not creep like a young mother,
Tenderly toward the cradle of her babe.
It shall not lay hands upon its beloved
As a lover would, gently, caressingly.
Oh, I love tenderness, but I would not have it
Sing a mournful, aching melody,
Tuned with sympathy. I would not have it
Bare its breast and cradle the smitten upon it,
Sobbing over the wounds.
I love tenderness, but oh, make my tenderness
Have hands that are skillful-turned,
That lay in soothe and balm, yet pressing surely
With faith behind the pressure of the cure.
Let my tenderness speak in clarion voice---
Unafraid! Let it walk with sure feet
To the spot of the fallen, and bending say:
"Arise, here is my hand," not:
"Oh, thou art wounded!"