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For Want of a Word

How do I tell them
Asks the young child,
Searching for words unknown.

I've said it all wrong
Cried the youth, quite wild,
If only I were grown.

Just listen to me
The new graduate nods
I've got it exactly right.

What words will change him,
The father asked,
Wondering into the night.

If only I'd said it,
The old woman thought,
If only I'd been heard!

All were reaching and reaching
Through the seasons of life
For the right use of a word.

Charlotte Hawkins Shepard
Guadalajara, Mexico

Used by Permission of Charlotte Hawkins Shepard. All rights reserved.


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