No debt is owed a smile, however warm,
That brightened hearthstone cold on gray-branched day,
Nor dearness of an eye that shone with special charm
And lighted lowest clouds along their way.
For spoken kindess let no payment pass,
Though in truth such never fell unheard,
Nor yet for look, nor dress, nor studied stance
Seen loudly clothed in pale and dying word.
Only a sightless scene deserves the fee:
'Twas but a hand laid lightly o'er my own,
A momentary mime, mute reverie,
For hands sing songs with words to lips unknown.
Unseen by thee who played the mummer's part,
In recompense for hand, I gave my heart.

January 3, 1905

Violet Witherspoon