Nearly a half-century after signing out a book about poetry, a 1971 Cooper High School grad probably thought, "Hey, what's the verse that could happen?"

Principal Frank Herman issued his ruling in a tweet, "Never too late to return your overdue school library books," and gladly accepted the way-overdue book last week along with a written apology. All fines forgiven.

"This former Cooper student brought it back after Almost 49 years," he continued. "Guess we can take it off our fine list."

The book, which was checked out on May 20, 1970, showed up in the mail with a signed note that read, "Sorry this return took almost 49 years."

As a matter of principle, the principal covered up the alum's name before tweeting a photo of the note and the book, the literary critique "Poetry and the Age," which was written by 1950s national poet laureate Randall Jarrell. Herman did reveal that the graduate is a woman.

Herman said Tuesday that staff tried to figure out what the fine would have been after all this time "but could not find any records of how much fines were. However, given the cost of inflation, I am sure we could buy a whole classroom set by now."

Star Tribune staff writer Tim Harlow contributed to this report.