The Laugh and the Smile


I laughed. The laugh went ringing far and wide;
Echoed, re-echoed in the empty air;
Flew mocking like a cackling horror there;
Returned to me n gibes intensified.
I smiled. The smiled poked where the sobs did hide,
Went silently into the homes of care;
Left in its path joy and a sober cheer,
And people smiled again where they had cried.
The laugh I loathed as soon as it had birth,
For as it rang its ringing grew more hard;
My laugh held mockery which leaves souls scarred.
The smile I loved as it shone on the earth,
For as it beamed its sunshine lit the eyes;
My smile for some had opened Paradise!

3. 11. 1927