Little girl, be careful what you say
when you make talk with words, words-
for words are made of syllables
and syllables, child, are made of air-
and is so thin - air is the breath of God-
air is finer than fire or mist,
finer than water or moonlight,
finer than spider-webs in the moon,
finer tha water-flowers in the morning:
and words are strong, too,
stronger than rocks or steel
stronger than potatoes, corn, fish, cattle,
and soft, too, soft as little pigeon-eggs,
soft as the music of hummingbird wings.
So, little girl, when you speak greetings,
when you tell jokes, makes wishes or prayers,
be careful, be careless, be careful,
be what you wish to be.
-- Carl Sandburg --
From Poetry For Young People by Carl Sandburg, published by Sterling Publishing Company, 1995.