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Best Famous Robert William Service Poems

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Written by Robert William Service | |

The Comforter

 As I sat by my baby's bed
That's open to the sky,
There fluttered round and round my head
A radiant butterfly.
And as I wept -- of hearts that ache The saddest in the land -- It left a lily for my sake, And lighted on my hand.
I watched it, oh, so quietly, And though it rose and flew, As if it fain would comfort me It came and came anew.
Now, where my darling lies at rest, I do not dare to sigh, For look! there gleams upon my breast A snow-white butterfly.


Written by Robert William Service | |

The Score

 I asked a silver sage
 With race nigh run:
'Tell me in old of age
 Your wisdom won?'
Said he: 'From fret and strife
 And vain vexation,
The all I've learned from life
 Is--Resignation.
' I asked a Bard who thrummed A harp clay-cold: 'How is your story summed Now you are old?' Though golden voice was his, And fame had he, He sighed: 'The finish is --Futility.
' I'm old; I have no wealth Toil to reward; Yet for the boon of health I thank the Lord.
While Beauty I can see, To live is good; And so life's crown to me Is--Gratitude


Written by Robert William Service | |

The Visionary

 If fortune had not granted me
 To suck the Muse's teats,
I think I would have liked to be
 A sweeper of the streets;
And city gutters glad to groom,
 Have heft a bonny broom.
There--as amid the crass and crush The limousines swished by, I would have leaned upon my brush With visionary eye: Deeming despite their loud allure That I was rich, they poor.
Aye, though in garb terrestrial, To Heaven I would pray, And dream with broom celestial I swept the Milky Way; And golden chariots would ring, And harps of Heaven sing.
And all the strumpets passing me, And heelers of the Ward Would glorified Madonnas be, And angels of the Lord; And all the brats in gutters grim Be rosy cherubim.


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Written by Robert William Service | |

A Bachelor

 'Why keep a cow when I can buy,'
 Said he, 'the milk I need,'
I wanted to spit in his eye
 Of selfishness and greed;
But did not, for the reason he
 Was stronger than I be.
I told him: ''Tis our human fate, For better or for worse, That man and maid should love and mate, And little children nurse.
Of course, if you are less than man You can't do what we can.
'So many loving maids would wed, And wondrous mothers be.
' 'I'll buy the love I want,' he said, 'No squally brats for me.
' .
.
.
I hope the devil stoketh well For him a special hell.


Written by Robert William Service | |

The Receptionist

 France is the fairest land on earth,
 Lovely to heart's desire,
And twice a year I span its girth,
 Its beauty to admire.
But when a pub I seek each night, To my profound vexation On form they hand me I've to write My occupation.
So once in a derisive mood My pen I nibbled; And though I know I never should: 'Gangster' I scribbled.
But as the clerk with startled face Looked stark suspicion, I blurred it out and in its place Put 'Politician.
' Then suddenly dissolved his frown; His face fused to a grin, As humorously he set down The form I handed in.
His shrug was eloquent to view.
Quoth he: 'What's in a name? In France, alas! the lousy two Are just the same.
'


Written by Robert William Service | |

Birthdays

 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 | |

If You Had A Friend

 If you had a friend strong, simple, true,
Who knew your faults and who understood;
Who believed in the very best of you,
And who cared for you as a father would;
Who would stick by you to the very end,
Who would smile however the world might frown:
I'm sure you would try to please your friend,
You never would think to throw him down.
And supposing your friend was high and great, And he lived in a palace rich and tall, And sat like a King in shining state, And his praise was loud on the lips of all; Well then, when he turned to you alone, And he singled you out from all the crowd, And he called you up to his golden throne, Oh, wouldn't you just be jolly proud? If you had a friend like this, I say, So sweet and tender, so strong and true, You'd try to please him in every way, You'd live at your bravest -- now, wouldn't you? His worth would shine in the words you penned; You'd shout his praises .
.
.
yet now it's odd! You tell me you haven't got such a friend; You haven't? I wonder .
.
.
What of God?


Written by Robert William Service | |

I Have Some Friends

 I have some friends, some worthy friends,
And worthy friends are rare:
These carpet slippers on my feet,
That padded leather chair;
This old and shabby dressing-gown,
So well the worse of wear.
I have some friends, some honest friends, And honest friends are few; My pipe of briar, my open fire, A book that's not too new; My bed so warm, the nights of storm I love to listen to.
I have some friends, some good, good friends, Who faithful are to me: My wrestling partner when I rise, The big and burly sea; My little boat that's riding there So saucy and so free.
I have some friends, some golden friends, Whose worth will not decline: A tawny Irish terrier, a purple shading pine, A little red-roofed cottage that So proudly I call mine.
All other friends may come and go, All other friendships fail; But these, the friends I've worked to win, Oh, they will never stale; And comfort me till Time shall write The finish to my tale.


Written by Robert William Service | |

Rhyme Builder

 I envy not those gay galoots
Who count on dying in their boots;
For that, to tell the sober truth
Sould be the privilege of youth;
But aged bones are better sped
To heaven from a downy bed.
So prop me up with pillows two, And serve me with the barley brew; And put a pencil in my hand, A copy book at my command; And let my final effort be To ring a rhyme of homely glee.
For since I've loved it oh so long, Let my last labour be in song; And when my pencil falters down, Oh may a final couplet crown The years of striving I have made To justify the jinglers trade.
Let me surrender with a rhyme My long and lovely lease of time; Let me be grateful for the gift To couple words in lyric lift; Let me song-build with humble hod, My last brick dedicate to God.


Written by Robert William Service | |

Divine Device

 Would it be loss or gain
To hapless human-kind
If we could feel no pain
Of body or of mind?
Would it be for our good
If we were calloused so,
And God in mercy should
End all our woe?

I wonder and I doubt:
It is my bright belief
We should be poor without
The gift of grief.
For suffering may be A blessing, not a bane, And though we sorrow we Should praise for Pain.
Aye, it's my brave belief That grateful we should be, Since in the heart of grief Is love and sympathy, We do not weep in vain, So let us kiss the rod, And see in purging Pain The Grace of God.


Written by Robert William Service | |

Segregation

 I stood beside the silken rope,
 Five dollars in my hand,
And waited in my patient hope
 To sit anear the Band,
And hear the famous Louie play
 The best hot trumpet of today.
And then a waiter loafing near Says in a nasty tone: "Old coon, we don't want darkies here, Beat it before you're thrown.
" So knowin' nothin' I could do I turned to go and--there was Lou.
I think he slapped that Dago's face; His voice was big an' loud; An' then he leads me from my place Through all that tony crowd.
World-famous Louie by the hand Took me to meet his famous Band.
"Listen, you folks," I heard him say.
"Here's Grand-papa what's come.
Savin' he teached me how to play, I mighta been a bum.
Come on, Grand-pop, git up an' show How you kin trumpet Ol' Black Joe.
" Tremblin' I played before his Band: You should have heard the cheers.
Them swell folks gave me such a hand My cheeks was wet wi' tears .
.
.
An' now I'm off to tell the wife The proudest night o' all ma life.


Written by Robert William Service | |

A Lyric Day

 I deem that there are lyric days
So ripe with radiance and cheer,
So rich with gratitude and praise
That they enrapture all the year.
And if there is a God babove, (As they would tell me in the Kirk,) How he must look with pride and love Upon his perfect handiwork! To-day has been a lyric day I hope I shall remember long, Of meadow dance and roundelay, Of woodland glee, of glow and song.
Such joy I saw in maidens eyes, In mother gaze such tender bliss .
.
.
How earth would rival paradise If every day could be like this! Why die, say I? Let us live on In lyric world of song and shine, With ecstasy from dawn to dawn, Until we greet the dawn Devine.
For I believe, with star and sun, With peak and plain, with sea and sod, Inextricably we are one, Bound in the Wholeness - God.


Written by Robert William Service | |

Inspiration

 How often have I started out
With no thought in my noodle,
And wandered here and there about,
Where fancy bade me toddle;
Till feeling faunlike in my glee
I've voiced some gay distiches,
Returning joyfully to tea,
A poem in my britches.
A-squatting on a thymy slope With vast of sky about me, I've scribbled on an envelope The rhymes the hills would shout me; The couplets that the trees would call, The lays the breezes proffered .
.
.
Oh no, I didn't think at all - I took what Nature offered.
For that's the way you ought to write - Without a trace of trouble; Be super-charged with high delight And let the words out-bubble; Be voice of vale and wood and stream Without design or proem: Then rouse from out a golden dream To find you've made a poem.
So I'll go forth with mind a blank, And sea and sky will spell me; And lolling on a thymy bank I'll take down what they tell me; As Mother Nature speaks to me Her words I'll gaily docket, So I'll come singing home to tea A poem in my pocket.


Written by Robert William Service | |

Hate

 I had a bitter enemy,
His heart to hate he gave,
And when I died he swore that he
Would dance upon my grave;
That he would leap and laugh because
A livid corpse was I,
And that's the reason why I was
In no great haste to die.
And then - such is the quirk of fate, One day with joy I read, Despite his vitalizing hate My enemy was dead.
Maybe the poison in his heart Had helped to haste his doom: He was not spared till I depart To spit upon my tomb.
The other day I chanced to go To where he lies alone.
'Tis easy to forgive a foe When he is dead and gone.
.
.
.
Poor devil! Now his day is done, (Though bright it was and brave,) Yet I am happy there is none To dance upon my grave.


Written by Robert William Service | |

Birthday

 (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
 Seventy-and-five.
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!