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Best Famous Robert William Service Poems

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Written by Robert William Service |

My Dentist

 Sitting in the dentist's chair,
Wishing that I wasn't there,
To forget and pass the time
I have made this bit of rhyme.
I had a rendez-vous at ten; I rushed to get in line, But found a lot of dames and men Had waited there since nine; I stared at them, then in an hour Was blandly ushered in; But though my face was grim and sour He met me with a grin.
He told me of his horse of blood, And how it "also ran", He plans to own a racing stud - (He seems a wealthy man.
) And then he left me there until I growled: "At any rate, I hope he'll not charge in his bill For all the time I wait.
" His wife has sables on her back, With jewels she's ablaze; She drives a stately Cadillac, And I'm the mug who pays: At least I'm one of those who peer With pessimistic gloom At magazines of yester-year In his damn waiting room.
I am a Christian Scientist; I don't believe in pain; My dentist had a powerful wrist, He tries and tries in vain To make me grunt or groan or squeal With probe or rasp or drill.
But oh, what agony I feel When HE PRESENTS HIS BILL! Sitting in the dental chair, Don't you wish you weren't there: Well, your cup of woe to fill, Just think of his infernal bill.

Written by Robert William Service |


 Today I opened wide my eyes,
And stared with wonder and surprise,
To see beneath November skies
An apple blossom peer;
Upon a branch as bleak as night
It gleamed exultant on my sight,
A fairy beacon burning bright
Of hope and cheer.
"Alas!" said I, "poor foolish thing, Have you mistaken this for Spring? Behold, the thrush has taken wing, And Winter's near.
" Serene it seemed to lift its head: "The Winter's wrath I do not dread, Because I am," it proudly said, "A Pioneer.
"Some apple blossom must be first, With beauty's urgency to burst Into a world for joy athirst, And so I dare; And I shall see what none shall see - December skies gloom over me, And mock them with my April glee, And fearless fare.
"And I shall hear what none shall hear - The hardy robin piping clear, The Storm King gallop dark and drear Across the sky; And I shall know what none shall know - The silent kisses of the snow, The Christmas candles' silver glow, Before I die.
"Then from your frost-gemmed window pane One morning you will look in vain, My smile of delicate disdain No more to see; But though I pass before my time, And perish in the grale and grime, Maybe you'll have a little rhyme To spare for me.

Written by Robert William Service |

The Joy Of Little Things

 It's good the great green earth to roam,
Where sights of awe the soul inspire;
But oh, it's best, the coming home,
The crackle of one's own hearth-fire!
You've hob-nobbed with the solemn Past;
You've seen the pageantry of kings;
Yet oh, how sweet to gain at last
The peace and rest of Little Things!

Perhaps you're counted with the Great;
You strain and strive with mighty men;
Your hand is on the helm of State;
Colossus-like you stride .
and then There comes a pause, a shining hour, A dog that leaps, a hand that clings: O Titan, turn from pomp and power; Give all your heart to Little Things.
Go couch you childwise in the grass, Believing it's some jungle strange, Where mighty monsters peer and pass, Where beetles roam and spiders range.
'Mid gloom and gleam of leaf and blade, What dragons rasp their painted wings! O magic world of shine and shade! O beauty land of Little Things! I sometimes wonder, after all, Amid this tangled web of fate, If what is great may not be small, And what is small may not be great.
So wondering I go my way, Yet in my heart contentment sings .
O may I ever see, I pray, God's grace and love in Little Things.
So give to me, I only beg, A little roof to call my own, A little cider in the keg, A little meat upon the bone; A little garden by the sea, A little boat that dips and swings .
Take wealth, take fame, but leave to me, O Lord of Life, just Little Things.

More great poems below...

Written by Robert William Service |

Why Do Birds Sing?

 Let poets piece prismatic words,
Give me the jewelled joy of birds!

What ecstasy moves them to sing?
Is it the lyric glee of Spring,
The dewy rapture of the rose?
Is it the worship born in those
Who are of Nature's self a part,
The adoration of the heart?

Is it the mating mood in them
That makes each crystal note a gem?
Oh mocking bird and nightingale,
Oh mavis, lark and robin - hail!
Tell me what perfect passion glows
In your inspired arpeggios?

A thrush is thrilling as I write
Its obligato of delight;
And in its fervour, as in mine,
I fathom tenderness divine,
And pity those of earthy ear
Who cannot hear .
who cannot hear.
Let poets pattern pretty words: For lovely largesse - bless you, Birds!

Written by Robert William Service |

The Living Dead

 Since I have come to years sedate
I see with more and more acumen
The bitter irony of Fate,
The vanity of all things human.
Why, just to-day some fellow said, As I surveyed Fame's outer portal: "By gad! I thought that you were dead.
" Poor me, who dreamed to be immortal! But that's the way with many men Whose name one fancied time-defying; We thought that they were dust and then We found them living by their dying.
Like dogs we penmen have our day, To brief best-sellerdom elected; And then, "thumbs down," we slink away And die forgotten and neglected.
Ah well, my lyric fling I've had; A thousand bits of verse I've minted; And some, alas! were very bad, And some, alack! were best unprinted.
But if I've made my muse a bawd (Since I am earthy as a ditch is), I'll answer humbly to my God: Most men at times have toyed with bitches.
Yes, I have played with Lady Rhyme, And had a long and lovely innings; And when the Umpire calls my time I'll blandly quit and take my winnings.
I'll hie me to some Sleepydale, And feed the ducks and pat the poodles, And prime my paunch with cakes and ale, And blether with the village noodles.
And then some day you'll idly scan The Times obituary column, And say: "Dear me, the poor old man!" And for a moment you'll look solemn.
"So all this time he's been alive - In realms of rhyme a second-rater .
But gad! to live to ninety-five: Let's toast his ghost - a sherry, waiter!"

Written by Robert William Service |

The Call Of The Wild

 Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing else to gaze on,
 Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
 Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streaking through it,
 Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence? Then for God's sake go and do it;
 Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.
Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation, The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze? Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation, And learned to know the desert's little ways? Have you camped upon the foothills, have you galloped o'er the ranges, Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through? Have you chummed up with the mesa? Do you know its moods and changes? Then listen to the Wild -- it's calling you.
Have you known the Great White Silence, not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver? (Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies.
) Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river, Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize? Have you marked the map's void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races, Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew? And though grim as hell the worst is, can you round it off with curses? Then hearken to the Wild -- it's wanting you.
Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory, Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole? "Done things" just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story, Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul? Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders? (You'll never hear it in the family pew.
) The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things -- Then listen to the Wild -- it's calling you.
They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching, They have soaked you in convention through and through; They have put you in a showcase; you're a credit to their teaching -- But can't you hear the Wild? -- it's calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us; Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling .
let us go.

Written by Robert William Service |

Making Good

 No man can be a failure if he thinks he's a success;
he may not own his roof-tree overhead,
He may be on his uppers and have hocked his evening dress -
(Financially speaking - in the red)
He may have chronic shortage to repay the old home mortgage,
And almost be a bankrupt in his biz.
, But though he skips his dinner, And each day he's growing thinner, If he thinks he is a winner, Then he is.
But when I say Success I mean the sublimated kind; A man may gain it yet be on the dole.
To me it's music of the heart and sunshine of the mind, Serenity and sweetness of the soul.
You may not have a brace of bucks to jingle in your jeans, Far less the dough to buy a motor car; But though the row you're hoeing May be grim, ungodly going, If you think the skies are glowing - Then they are.
For a poor man may be wealthy and a millionaire may fail, It all depends upon the point of view.
It's the sterling of your spirit tips the balance of the scale, It's optimism, and it's up to you.
For what I figure as success is simple Happiness, The consummate contentment of your mood: You may toil with brain and sinew, And though little wealth is win you, If there's health and hope within you - You've made good.

Written by Robert William Service |

My Will

 I've made my Will.
I don't believe In luxury and wealth; And to those loving ones who grieve My age and frailing health I give the meed to soothe their ways That they may happy be, And pass serenely all their days In snug security.
That duty done, I leave behind The all I have to give To crippled children and the blind Who lamentably live; Hoping my withered hand may freight To happiness a few Poor innocents whom cruel fate Has cheated of their due.
A am no grey philanthropist, Too humble is my lot Yet how I'm glad to give the grist My singing mill has brought.
For I have had such lyric days, So rich, so full, so sweet, That I with gratitude and praise Would make my life complete.
I'VE MADE MY WILL: now near the end, At peace with all mankind, To children lame I would be friend, And brother to the blind .
And if there be a God, I pray He bless my last bequest, And in His love and pity say: "Good servant,--rest!"

Written by Robert William Service |

The March Of The Dead

 The cruel war was over -- oh, the triumph was so sweet!
 We watched the troops returning, through our tears;
There was triumph, triumph, triumph down the scarlet glittering street,
 And you scarce could hear the music for the cheers.
And you scarce could see the house-tops for the flags that flew between; The bells were pealing madly to the sky; And everyone was shouting for the Soldiers of the Queen, And the glory of an age was passing by.
And then there came a shadow, swift and sudden, dark and drear; The bells were silent, not an echo stirred.
The flags were drooping sullenly, the men forgot to cheer; We waited, and we never spoke a word.
The sky grew darker, darker, till from out the gloomy rack There came a voice that checked the heart with dread: "Tear down, tear down your bunting now, and hang up sable black; They are coming -- it's the Army of the Dead.
" They were coming, they were coming, gaunt and ghastly, sad and slow; They were coming, all the crimson wrecks of pride; With faces seared, and cheeks red smeared, and haunting eyes of woe, And clotted holes the khaki couldn't hide.
Oh, the clammy brow of anguish! the livid, foam-flecked lips! The reeling ranks of ruin swept along! The limb that trailed, the hand that failed, the bloody finger tips! And oh, the dreary rhythm of their song! "They left us on the veldt-side, but we felt we couldn't stop On this, our England's crowning festal day; We're the men of Magersfontein, we're the men of Spion Kop, Colenso -- we're the men who had to pay.
We're the men who paid the blood-price.
Shall the grave be all our gain? You owe us.
Long and heavy is the score.
Then cheer us for our glory now, and cheer us for our pain, And cheer us as ye never cheered before.
" The folks were white and stricken, and each tongue seemed weighted with lead; Each heart was clutched in hollow hand of ice; And every eye was staring at the horror of the dead, The pity of the men who paid the price.
They were come, were come to mock us, in the first flush of our peace; Through writhing lips their teeth were all agleam; They were coming in their thousands -- oh, would they never cease! I closed my eyes, and then -- it was a dream.
There was triumph, triumph, triumph down the scarlet gleaming street; The town was mad; a man was like a boy.
A thousand flags were flaming where the sky and city meet; A thousand bells were thundering the joy.
There was music, mirth and sunshine; but some eyes shone with regret; And while we stun with cheers our homing braves, O God, in Thy great mercy, let us nevermore forget The graves they left behind, the bitter graves.

Written by Robert William Service |

A Hero

 Three times I had the lust to kill,
To clutch a throat so young and fair,
And squeeze with all my might until
No breath of being lingered there.
Three times I drove the demon out, Though on my brow was evil sweat.
And yet I know beyond a doubt He'll get me yet, he'll get me yet.
I know I'm mad, I ought to tell The doctors, let them care for me, Confine me in a padded cell And never, never set me free; But Oh how cruel that would be! For I am young - and comely too .
Yet dim my demon I can see, And there is but one thing to do.
Three times I beat the foul fiend back; The fourth, I know he will prevail, And so I'll seek the railway track And lay my head upon the rail, And sight the dark and distant train, And hear its thunder louder roll, Coming to crush my cursed brain .
Oh God, have mercy on my soul!

Written by Robert William Service |


 (16th January 1949)

I thank whatever gods may be
For all the happiness that's mine;
That I am festive, fit and free
To savour women, wit and wine;
That I may game of golf enjoy,
And have a formidable drive:
In short, that I'm a gay old boy
Though I be
My daughter thinks.
because I'm old (I'm not a crock, when all is said), I mustn't let my feet get cold, And should wear woollen socks in bed; A worsted night-cap too, forsooth! To humour her I won't contrive: A man is in his second youth When he is Seventy-and-five.
At four-score years old age begins, And not till then, I warn my wife; At eighty I'll recant my sins, And live a staid and sober life.
But meantime let me whoop it up, And tell the world that I'm alive: Fill to the brim the bubbly cup - Here's health to Seventy-and-five!

Written by Robert William Service |

Our Hero

 "Flowers, only flowers -- bring me dainty posies,
 Blossoms for forgetfulness," that was all he said;
So we sacked our gardens, violets and roses,
 Lilies white and bluebells laid we on his bed.
Soft his pale hands touched them, tenderly caressing; Soft into his tired eyes came a little light; Such a wistful love-look, gentle as a blessing; There amid the flowers waited he the night.
"I would have you raise me; I can see the West then: I would see the sun set once before I go.
" So he lay a-gazing, seemed to be at rest then, Quiet as a spirit in the golden glow.
So he lay a-watching rosy castles crumbling, Moats of blinding amber, bastions of flame, Rugged rifts of opal, crimson turrets tumbling; So he lay a-dreaming till the shadows came.
"Open wide the window; there's a lark a-singing; There's a glad lark singing in the evening sky.
How it's wild with rapture, radiantly winging: Oh it's good to hear that when one has to die.
I am horror-haunted from the hell they found me; I am battle-broken, all I want is rest.
Ah! It's good to die so, blossoms all around me, And a kind lark singing in the golden West.
"Flowers, song and sunshine, just one thing is wanting, Just the happy laughter of a little child.
" So we brought our dearest, Doris all-enchanting; Tenderly he kissed her; radiant he smiled.
"In the golden peace-time you will tell the story How for you and yours, sweet, bitter deaths were ours.
God bless little children!" So he passed to glory, So we left him sleeping, still amid the flow'rs.

Written by Robert William Service |

My Son

 I must not let my boy Dick down,
 Knight of the air.
With wings of light he won renown Then crashed somewhere.
To fly to France from London town I do not dare.
Oh he was such a simple lad Who loved the sky; A modern day Sir Galahad, No need to die: Earthbound he might have been so glad, Yet chose to fly.
I ask from where his courage stemmed? I've never flown; Air-travel I have oft condemned,-- Now I'm alone, Yet somehow hold the bright belief God gave his brief.
So now I must live up to him Who won on high A lustre time will never dim; Though coward I, Let me revere till life be done My hero son.

Written by Robert William Service |


 Let us have birthdays every day,
(I had the thought while I was shaving)
Because a birthday should be gay,
And full of grace and good behaving.
We can't have cakes and candles bright, And presents are beyond our giving, But let lt us cherish with delight The birthday way of lovely living.
For I have passed three-score and ten And I can count upon my fingers The years I hope to bide with men, (Though by God's grace one often lingers.
) So in the summers left to me, Because I'm blest beyond my merit, I hope with gratitude and glee To sparkle with the birthday spirit.
Let me inform myself each day Who's proudmost on the natal roster; If Washington or Henry Clay, Or Eugene Field or Stephen Foster.
oh lots of famous folks I'll find Who more than measure to my rating, And so thanksgivingly inclined Their birthdays I'll be celebrating.
For Oh I know the cheery glow| Of Anniversary rejoicing; Let me reflect its radiance so My daily gladness I'll be voicing.
And though I'm stooped and silver-haired, Let me with laughter make the hearth gay, So by the gods I may be spared Each year to hear: "Pop, Happy Birthday.

Written by Robert William Service |


 I had a dream, a dream of dread:
I thought that horror held the house;
A burglar bent above my bed,
He moved as quiet as a mouse.
With hairy hand and naked knife He poised to plunge a bloody stroke, Until despairful of my life I shrieked with terror - and awoke.
I had a dream of weary woes: In weather that was fit to freeze, I thought that I had lost my cloths, And only wore a short chemise.
The wind was wild; so catch a train I ran, but no advance did make; My legs were pistoning in vain - How I was happy to awake! I had a dream: Upon the stair I met a maid who kissed my lips; A nightie was her only wear, We almost came to loving grips.
And then she opened wide a door, And pointed to a bonny bed .
Oh blast! I wakened up before I could discover - were we wed? Alas! Those dreams of broken bliss, Of wakenings too sadly soon! With memories of sticky kiss, And limbs so languidly a-swoon! Alas those nightmares devil driven! Those pantless prowlings in Pall Mall! Oh why should some dreams be like heaven And others so resemble hell?