Robert W. Service

R
Robert W. Service
The Men That Don't Fit In
There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
Read Poem
0
29
Rating:

The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill
I took a contract to bury the body of blasphemous Bill MacKie,
Whenever, wherever or whatsoever the manner of death he die —
Whether he die in the light o’ day or under the peak-faced moon;
In cabin or dance-hall, camp or dive, mucklucks or patent shoon;
On velvet tundra or virgin peak, by glacier, drift or draw;
In muskeg hollow or canyon gloom, by avalanche, fang or claw;
By battle, murder or sudden wealth, by pestilence, hooch or lead —
I swore on the Book I would follow and look till I found my tombless dead.
Read Poem
0
35
Rating:

The Battle of the Bulge
This year an ocean trip I took, and as I am a Scot
And like to get my money’s worth I never missed a meal.
In spite of Neptune’s nastiness I ate an awful lot,
Yet felt as fit as if we sailed upon an even keel.
But now that I am home again I’m stricken with disgust;
How many pounds of fat I’ve gained I’d rather not divulge:
Well, anyway, I mean to take this tummy down or bust,
So here I’m suet-strafing in the
Read Poem
0
36
Rating:

The Cremation of Sam McGee
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Read Poem
0
32
Rating:

The Harpy
There was a woman, and she was wise; woefully wise was she;
She was old, so old, yet her years all told were but a score and three;
And she knew by heart, from finish to start, the Book of Iniquity.


There is no hope for such as I on earth, nor yet in Heaven;
Unloved I live, unloved I die, unpitied, unforgiven;
A loathèd jade, I ply my trade, unhallowed and unshriven.

I paint my cheeks, for they are white, and cheeks of chalk men hate;
Mine eyes with wine I make them shine, that man may seek and sate;
Read Poem
0
34
Rating:

I Believe
It’s my belief that every man
Should do his share of work,
And in our economic plan
No citizen should shirk.
That in return each one should get
His meed of fold and food,
And feel that all his toil and sweat
Is for the common good.
Read Poem
0
27
Rating:

It Is Later Than You Think
Lone amid the café’s cheer,
Sad of heart am I to-night;
Dolefully I drink my beer,
But no single line I write.
There’s the wretched rent to pay,
Yet I glower at pen and ink:
Oh, inspire me, Muse, I pray,
It is later than you think!
Read Poem
0
39
Rating:

Just Think!
Just think! some night the stars will gleam
Upon a cold, grey stone,
And trace a name with silver beam,
And lo! ’twill be your own.

That night is speeding on to greet
Your epitaphic rhyme.
Your life is but a little beat
Within the heart of Time.
Read Poem
0
31
Rating:

Maternity
There once was a Square, such a square little Square,
And he loved a trim Triangle;
But she was a flirt and around her skirt
Vainly she made him dangle.
Oh he wanted to wed and he had no dread
Of domestic woes and wrangles;
For he thought that his fate was to procreate
Cute little Squares and Triangles.
Read Poem
0
40
Rating:

My Madonna
I haled me a woman from the street,
Shameless, but, oh, so fair!
I bade her sit in the model’s seat
And I painted her sitting there.

I hid all trace of her heart unclean;
I painted a babe at her breast;
I painted her as she might have been
If the Worst had been the Best.
Read Poem
0
29
Rating:

The Prospector
I strolled up old Bonanza, where I staked in ninety-eight,
A-purpose to revisit the old claim.
I kept thinking mighty sadly of the funny ways of Fate,
And the lads who once were with me in the game.
Poor boys, they’re down-and-outers, and there’s scarcely one to-day
Can show a dozen colors in his poke;
And me, I’m still prospecting, old and battered, gaunt and gray,
And I’m looking for a grub-stake, and I’m broke.
Read Poem
0
47
Rating:

Pullman Porter
The porter in the Pullman car
Was charming, as they sometimes are.
He scanned my baggage tags: “Are you
The man who wrote of Lady Lou?”
When I said “yes” he made a fuss —
Oh, he was most assiduous;
And I was pleased to think that he
Enjoyed my brand of poetry.
Read Poem
0
37
Rating:

The Reckoning
It’s fine to have a blow-out in a fancy restaurant,
With terrapin and canvas-back and all the wine you want;
To enjoy the flowers and music, watch the pretty women pass,
Smoke a choice cigar, and sip the wealthy water in your glass.
It’s bully in a high-toned joint to eat and drink your fill,
But it’s quite another matter when you
Pay the bill.

It’s great to go out every night on fun or pleasure bent;
Read Poem
0
33
Rating:

The Shooting of Dan McGrew
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,
And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that's known as Lou.

When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and the glare,
There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.
He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse,
Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks for the house.
Read Poem
0
32
Rating:

The Song of the Wage-slave

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 —
All I want is just quiet, just to rest and forget.
Look at my face, toil-furrowed; look at my calloused hands;
Master, I've done Thy bidding, wrought in Thy many lands —
Wrought for the little masters, big-bellied they be, and rich;
I've done their desire for a daily hire, and I die like a dog in a ditch.
I have used the strength Thou hast given, Thou knowest I did not shirk;
Threescore years of labor — Thine be the long day's work.
And now, Big Master, I'm broken and bent and twisted and scarred,
But I've held my job, and Thou knowest, and Thou wilt not judge me hard.
Thou knowest my sins are many, and often I've played the fool —
Whiskey and cards and women, they made me the devil's tool.
Read Poem
0
31
Rating:

The Spell of the Yukon
I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy—I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it— 
Came out with a fortune last fall,—
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn’t all.
Read Poem
0
37
Rating:

The Telegraph Operator
I will not wash my face;
I will not brush my hair;
I "pig" around the place —
There's nobody to care.
Nothing but rock and tree;
Nothing but wood and stone;
Oh God, it's hell to be
Alone, alone, alone.
Read Poem
0
35
Rating:

The Twins
There were two brothers, John and James,
And when the town went up in flames,
To save the house of James dashed John,
Then turned, and lo! his own was gone.

And when the great World War began,
To volunteer John promptly ran;
And while he learned live bombs to lob,
James stayed at home and—sneaked his job.
Read Poem
0
35
Rating: