Robert Service Poems

  • 701.  
    “The spirits do not like the light,”
    The medium said, and turned the switch;The little lady on my right
  • 702.  
    Happiness, a-roving round
    For a sweet abiding place,In a stately palace found
  • 703.  
    I was a seed that fell
    In silver dew;And nobody could tell,
  • 704.  
    The humble garret where I dwell
    Is in that Quarter called the Latin;It isn't spacious-truth to tell,
  • 705.  
    A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
    The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
  • 706.  
    I burned my fingers on the stove
    And wept with bitterness;But poor old Auntie Maggie strove
  • 707.  
    Out of the night a crash,
    A roar, a rampart of light;A flame that leaped like a lash,
  • 708.  
    I'm just an ordinary chap
    Who comes home to his tea,And mostly I don't care a rap
  • 709.  
    Three men I saw beside a bar,
    Regarding o'er their bottle,A frog who smoked a rank cigar
  • 710.  
    Because back home in Tennessee
    I was a champeen shot,They made a sniper outa me
  • 711.  
    “Deny your God!” they ringed me with their spears;
    Blood-crazed were they, and reeking from the strife;Hell-hot their hate, and venom-fanged their sneers,
  • 712.  
    Heed me, feed me, I am hungry, I am red-tongued with desire;
    Boughs of balsam, slabs of cedar, gummy fagots of the pine,Heap them on me, let me hug them to my eager heart of fire,
  • 713.  
    (With apologies to the singer of the “Song of the Banjo”.)

  • 714.  
    What do they matter, our headlong hates, when we take the toll of our Dead?
    Think ye our glory and gain will pay for the torrent of blood we have shed?By the cheers of our Victory will the heart of the mother be comforted?
  • 715.  
    Give me the scorn of the stars and a peak defiant;
    Wail of the pines and a wind with the shout of a giant;Night and a trail unknown and a heart reliant.
  • 716.  
    When the long, long day is over, and the Big Boss gives me my pay,
    I hope that it won't be hell-fire, as some of the parsons say.And I hope that it won't be heaven, with some of the parsons I've met-
  • 717.  
    I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
    I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.Was it famine or scurvy-I fought it;
  • 718.  
    The Spirit of the Unborn Babe peered through the window-pane,
    Peered through the window-pane that glowed like beacon in the night;For, oh, the sky was desolate and wild with wind and rain;
  • 719.  
    The cow-moose comes to water, and the beaver's overbold,
    The net is in the eddy of the stream;The teepee stars the vivid sward with russet, red and gold,
  • 720.  
    My stretcher is one scarlet stain,
    And as I tries to scrape it clean,I tell you wot-I'm sick with pain
  • 721.  
    When you have sailed the seven seas
    And looped the ends of earth,You'll long at last for slippered ease
  • 722.  
    It is not power and fame
    That make success;It is not rank or name
  • 723.  
    The sunshine seeks my little room
    To tell me Paris streets are gay;That children cry the lily bloom
  • 724.  
    When I was with a Shakespeare show
    I played the part of Guildenstern,Or Rosenkrantz-at least I know
  • 725.  
    I will not wash my face;
    I will not brush my hair;I “pig” around the place-
  • 726.  
    Of all the men I ever knew
    The tinkingest was Uncle Jim;If there were any chores to do
  • 727.  
    Ma tried to wash her garden slacks but couldn't get 'em clean
    And so she thought she'd soak 'em in a bucket o' benzine.It worked all right. She wrung 'em out then wondered what she'd do
  • 728.  
    That Barret, the painter of pictures, what feeling for color he had!
    And Fanning, the maker of music, such melodies mirthful and mad!And Harley, the writer of stories, so whimsical, tender and glad!
  • 729.  
    The waves have a story to tell me,
    As I lie on the lonely beach;Chanting aloft in the pine-tops,
  • 730.  
    Gold! We leapt from our benches. Gold! We sprang from our stools.
    Gold! We wheeled in the furrow, fired with the faith of fools.Fearless, unfound, unfitted, far from the night and the cold,
  • 731.  
    So now I take a bitter road
    Whereon no bourne I see,And wearily I lift the load
  • 732.  
    Can you recall, dear comrade, when we tramped God's land together,
    And we sang the old, old Earth-song, for our youth was very sweet;When we drank and fought and lusted, as we mocked at tie and tether,
  • 733.  
    It's mighty lonesome-like and drear.
    Above the Wild the moon rides high,And shows up sharp and needle-clear
  • 734.  
    Because I've eighty years and odd,
    And darkling is my day,I now prepare to meet my God,
  • 735.  
    Toil's a tunnel, there's no way out
    For fellows, the like o' me;A beggar wi' only a crust an' a clout
  • 736.  
    Says Bauldy MacGreegor frae Gleska tae Hecky MacCrimmon frae Skye:
    “That's whit I hate maist aboot fechtin'-it makes ye sae deevilish dry;Noo jist hae a keek at yon ferm-hoose them Gairmans are poundin' sae fine,
  • 737.  
    There were two brothers, John and James,
    And when the town went up in flames,To save the house of James dashed John,
  • 738.  
    I've sung of Violet de Vere, that slinky, minky dame,
    Of Gertie of the Diamond Tooth, and Touch-the-Button Nell,And Maye Lamore,-at eighty-four I oughta blush wi' shame
  • 739.  
    What have we done, Oh Lord, that we
    Are evil starred?How have we erred and sinned to be
  • 740.  
    She was so wonderful I wondered
    If wedding me she had not blundered;She was so pure, so high above me,
  • 741.  
    If fortune had not granted me
    To suck the Muse's teats,I think I would have liked to be
  • 742.  
    Sez I: My Country calls? Well, let it call.
    I grins perlitely and declines wiv thanks.Go, let 'em plaster every blighted wall,
  • 743.  
    (He speaks.)

  • 744.  
    The Wanderlust has lured me to the seven lonely seas,
    Has dumped me on the tailing-piles of dearth;The Wanderlust has haled me from the morris chairs of ease,
  • 745.  
    I pawned my sick wife's wedding ring,
    To drink and make myself a beast.I got the most that it would bring,
  • 746.  
    She risked her all, they told me, bravely sinking
    The pinched economies of thirty years;And there the little shop was, meek and shrinking,
  • 747.  
    You may talk o' your lutes and your dulcimers fine,
    Your harps and your tabors and cymbals and a',But here in the trenches jist gie me for mine
  • 748.  
    I don't think men of eighty odd
    Should let a surgeon operate;Better to pray for peace with God,
  • 749.  
    Oh I have worn my mourning out,
    And on her grave the green grass grows;So I will hang each sorry clout
  • 750.  
    “Tell Annie I'll be home in time
    To help her with her Christmas-tree.”That's what he wrote, and hark! the chime
Total 831 poems written by Robert Service

Poem of the day

Blue And White
 by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

BLUE is Our Lady—s colour,
White is Our Lord—s.
To-morrow I will wear a knot
Of blue and white cords,
That you may see it, where you ride
Among the flashing swords.

O banner, white and sunny blue,

Read complete poem

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