Thou small member
Look what evil, you have brought.
Like a little flame,
You set peace ablaze.
Lacking restrain, you let out
My friend, you have made my
See how you defile me
making me transgress.
How little and how evil you are.
You cause me to slander.
All that is covered, you uncover.
The secret is spilled like milk and
spread on the floor like butter.
Be good, be kind, it is righteous.
Harsh words you brought forth
like a sword thrust into a man’s heart
To cause him pain and make
What healing dost thou bring?
Look how you inflict wounds
with your malicious statements
As you refuse to be good.
Look what discord thou hast brought.
Would I be wrong, to pluck you out
of my mouth?
Listen now and be prudent.
So little, but yet in possession
of so much power. To deceive
to hurt, to make bitter a person,
to cause pain and sorrow, to put
down, to bring up, to heal and to soothe.
I will control thee I say
a thousand times without pause.
Yet you overpower me and have
your way sometimes
Oh little member, do have a heart.
Speak well and not evil.
Heal and not make sick.
Be sweet and not bitter.
My teeth jam into you, feel the pain?
It’s what you do to another, when
you Pierce their hearts
with cruel and unkind words.
Little member, be good and be kind.
You are so important to my whole
I won’t pull you out of my mouth anymore.
I beseech thee once again,
be good and be kind.
About the Poem
It’s about the tongue, possessing the power to hurt and make another person bitter and sad. Causing disagreement and making one sin.
The tongue can be tamed, as the poet states in the line ‘I will control thee I say’.
The poet (me) pleads with the tongue to speak good and not evil, for that is the right thing to do. The poet threatens to take the tongue out, so it seizes to be a member of the body.
The poet realizes that the tongue is very important, so the poets beg the tongue to be good instead of destroying it.