A Curl

By Kate Slaughter McKinney

To-night, as I turned back the pages
Of a book Time had fingered before,
And whose leaves held the odor of ages,
And the imprints of much usage wore,
A little brown curl I discovered,
That fell from the book to the floor.
Had I sinned? Heaven grant me its pardon.
Did a lover’s sad tear the page spot?
Who pressed there that gem of the garden—
The sweet flower, “forget-me-not?”
It lay as if carved on a grave-stone,
And all of its sweetness forgot.
I held the curl up to the lamplight,
And watching the gleam of its gold,
There I heard with the rush of the midnight,
A sad little story it told;
But I promised the sacred old volume
Its secret I would not unfold.
But I would that the world knew its sorrow,
The story I must not reveal;
But go to your book case to-morrow.
And each to your own heart appeal;
And you’ll know why the tattered old volume
The little curl tries to conceal.

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