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Best Famous Robert William Service Poems

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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.


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


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.


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.


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.
'


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


by Robert William Service | |

Your Poem

 My poem may be yours indeed
In melody and tone,
If in its rhythm you can read
A music of your own;
If in its pale woof you can weave
Your lovelier design,
'Twill make my lyric, I believe,
 More yours than mine.
I'm but a prompter at the best; Crude cues are all I give.
In simple stanzas I suggest - 'Tis you who make them live.
My bit of rhyme is but a frame, And if my lines you quote, I think, although they bear my name, 'Tis you who wrote.
Yours is the beauty that you see In any words I sing; The magic and the melody 'Tis you, dear friend, who bring.
Yea, by the glory and the gleam, The loveliness that lures Your thought to starry heights of dream, The poem's yours.


by Robert William Service | |

Courage

 In the shadow of the grave
 I will be brave;
I'll smile,--I know I will
 E'er I be still;
Because I will not smile
 So long a while.
But I'll be sad, I fear, And shed a tear, For those I love and leave My loss to grieve: 'Tis just their grief I'll grieve, Believe, believe.
Not for myself I care As forth I fare; But for those left behind Wae is my mind Knowing how they will miss My careless kiss.
Oh I'll be brave when I Shall come to die; With courage I will quaff The Cup and laugh, Aye, even mock at Death With failing breath.
It is not those who go Who suffer woe; But stricken ones who bide By cold bedside: God comfort you who keep Watch by my sleep!


by Robert William Service | |

The Mother

 Your children grow from you apart,
 Afar and still afar;
And yet it should rejoice your heart
 To see how glad they are;
In school and sport, in work and play,
 And last, in wedded bliss
How others claim with joy to-day
 The lips you used to kiss.
Your children distant will become, And wide the gulf will grow; The lips of loving will be dumb, The trust you used to know Will in another's heart repose, Another's voice will cheer .
.
.
And you will fondle baby clothes And brush away a tear.
But though you are estranged almost, And often lost to view, How you will see a little ghost Who ran to cling to you! Yet maybe children's children will Caress you with a smile .
.
.
Grandmother love will bless you still,-- Well, just a little while.


by Robert William Service | |

Canine Conversation

 If dogs could speak, O Mademoiselle,
What funny stories they could tell!
For instance, take your little "peke,"
How awkward if the dear could speak!
How sad for you and all of us,
Who round you flutter, flirt and fuss;
Folks think you modest, mild and meek .
.
.
But would they - if Fi-Fi could speak? If dogs could tell, Ah Madame Rose, What secrets could they not disclose! If your pet poodle Angeline Could hint at half of what she's seen, Your reputation would, I fear, As absolutely disappear As would a snowball dropped in hell .
.
.
If Angeline could only tell.
If dogs could speak, how dangerous It would be for a lot of us! At what they see and what they hear They wink an eye and wag an ear.
How fortunate for old and young The darlings have a silent tongue! We love them, but it's just as well For all of us that - dogs can't tell.


by Robert William Service | |

Mud

 Mud is Beauty in the making,
Mud is melody awaking;
Laughter, leafy whisperings,
Butterflies with rainbow wings;
Baby babble, lover's sighs,
Bobolink in lucent skies;
Ardours of heroic blood
All stem back to Matrix Mud.
Mud is mankind in the moulding, Heaven's mystery unfolding; Miracles of mighty men, Raphael's brush and Shakespear's pen; Sculpture, music, all we owe Mozart, Michael Angelo; Wonder, worship, dreaming spire, Issue out of primal mire.
In the raw, red womb of Time Man evolved from cosmic slime; And our thaumaturgic day Had its source in ooze and clay .
.
.
But I have not power to see Such stupendous alchemy: And in star-bright lily bud Lo! I worship Mother Mud.


by Robert William Service | |

Growing Old

 Somehow the skies don't seem so blue
 As they used to be;
Blossoms have a fainter hue,
 Grass less green I see.
There's no twinkle in a star, Dawns don't seem so gold .
.
.
Yet, of course, I know they are: Guess I'm growing old.
Somehow sunshine seems less bright, Birds less gladly sing; Moons don't thrill me with delight, There's no kick in Spring.
Hills are steeper now and I'm Sensitive to cold; Lines are not so keen to rhyme .
.
.
Gosh! I'm growing old.
Yet in spite of failing things I've no cause to grieve; Age with all its ailing brings Blessings, I believe: Kindo' gentles up the mind As the hope we hold That with loving we will find Friendliness in human kind, Grace in growing old.


by Robert William Service | |

My Brothers

 While I make rhymes my brother John
Makes shiny shoes which dames try on,
And finding to their fit and stance
They buy and wear with elegance;
But mine is quite another tale,--
 For song there is no sale.
My brother Tom a tailor shop Is owner of, and ladies stop To try the models he has planned, And richly pay, I understand: Yet not even a dingy dime Can I make with my rhyme.
My brother Jim sells stuff to eat Like trotters, tripe and sausage meat.
I dare not by his window stop, Lest he should offer me a chop; For though a starving bard I be, To hell, say I, with charity! My brothers all are proud of purse, But though my poverty I curse, I would not for a diadem Exchange my lowly lot with them: A garret and a crust for me, And reams and dreams of Poetry.


by Robert William Service | |

Anti-Profanity

 I do not swear because I am
A sweet and sober guy;
I cannot vent a single damn
However hard I try.
And in viruperative way, Though I recall it well, I never, never, never say A naughty word like hell.
To rouse my wrath you need not try, I'm milder than a lamb; However you may rile me I Refuse to say: Goddam! In circumstances fury-fraught My tongue is always civil, And though you goad me I will not Consign you to the divvle.
An no, I never, never swear; Profanity don't pay; To cuss won't get you anywhere, (And neither will to pray.
) And so all blasphemy I stem.
When milk of kindness curds: But though I never utter them - Gosh! how I know the words.


by Robert William Service | |

Little Brother

 Wars have been and wars will be
Till the human race is run;
Battles red by land and sea,
Never peace beneath the sun.
I am old and little care; I'll be cold, my lips be dumb: Brother mine, beware, beware .
.
.
Evil looms the wrath to come.
Eastern skies are dark with strife, Western lands are stark with fear; Rumours of world-war are rife, Armageddon draweth near.
If your carcase you would save, Hear, oh hear, the dreadful drum! Fly to forest, cower in cave .
.
.
Brother, heed the wrath to come! Brother, you were born too late; Human life is but a breath.
Men delve deep, where darkly wait Sinister the seeds of death, There's no moment to delay; Sorrowing the stars are blind.
Little Brother, how I pray You may sanctuary find.
Peoples of the world succumb .
.
.
Fly, poor fools, the WRATH TO COME!