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Best Famous Robert William Service Poems

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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 |


 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.

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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 |

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 |

Home And Love

 Just Home and Love! the words are small
Four little letters unto each;
And yet you will not find in all
The wide and gracious range of speech
Two more so tenderly complete:
When angels talk in Heaven above,
I'm sure they have no words more sweet
 Than Home and Love.
Just Home and Love! it's hard to guess Which of the two were best to gain; Home without Love is bitterness; Love without Home is often pain.
No! each alone will seldom do; Somehow they travel hand and glove: If you win one you must have two, Both Home and Love.
And if you've both, well then I'm sure You ought to sing the whole day long; It doesn't matter if you're poor With these to make divine your song.
And so I praisefully repeat, When angels talk in Heaven above, There are no words more simply sweet Than Home and Love.

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 |


 I like to think that when I fall,
A rain-drop in Death's shoreless sea,
This shelf of books along the wall,
Beside my bed, will mourn for me.
Regard it.
Aye, my taste is queer.
Some of my bards you may disdain.
Shakespeare and Milton are not here; Shelly and Keats you seek in vain.
Wordsworth, Tennyson, Browning too, Remarkably are not in view.
Who are they? Omar first you see, With Vine and Rose and Nightingale, Voicing my pet philosphy Of Wine and Song.
Then Reading Gaol, Where Fate a gruesome pattern makes, And dawn-light shudders as it wakes.
The Ancient Mariner is next, With eerie and terrific text; The Burns, with pawky human touch - Poor devil! I have loved him much.
And now a gay quartette behold: Bret Harte and Eugene Field are here; And Henly, chanting brave and bold, And Chesteron, in praise of Beer.
Lastly come valiant Singers three; To whom this strident Day belongs: Kipling, to whom I bow the knee, Masefield, with rugged sailor songs.
And to my lyric troupe I add With greatful heart - The Shropshire Lad.
Behold my minstrels, just eleven.
For half my life I've loved them well.
And though I have no hope of Heaven, And more than Highland fear of Hell, May I be damned if on this shelf ye find a rhyme I made myself.

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 |

My Future

 "Let's make him a sailor," said Father,
"And he will adventure the sea.
" "A soldier," said Mother, "is rather What I would prefer him to be.
" "A lawyer," said Father, "would please me, For then he could draw up my will.
" "A doctor," said Mother, "would ease me; Maybe he could give me a pill.
" Said Father: "Lt's make him a curate, A Bishop in gaiters to be.
" Said Mother: "I couldn't endure it To have Willie preaching to me.
" Said Father: ""Let him be a poet; So often he's gathering wool.
" Said Mother with temper: "Oh stow it! You know it, a poet's a fool.
" Said Farther: "Your son is a duffer, A stupid and mischievous elf.
" Said Mother, who's rather a huffer: "That's right - he takes after yourself.
" Controlling parental emotion They turned to me, seeking a cue, And sudden conceived the bright notion To ask what I wanted to do.
Said I: "my ambition is modest: A clown in a circus I'd be, And turn somersaults in the sawdust With audience laughing at me.
" .
Poor parents! they're dead and decaying, But I am a clown as you see; And though in no circus I'm playing, How people are laughing at me!

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 |

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 |

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 |


 Bed and bread are all I need
 In my happy day;
Love of Nature is my creed,
 Unto her I pray;
Sun and sky my spirit feed
 On my happy way.
To no man I bow the head, None may master me; I will eat my crust of bread Lauding liberty; And upon my truckle bed Glory to be free.
You who grab for sordid gold, You who fight for fame, Shiny dross your fingers hold, Empty is your aim.
--Soon we fatten graveyard mould, Rich and poor the same.
So from world of want and woe I retreat with dread; Tuned to Nature glad I go With my bite of bread: Praising God I lay me low On my truckle bed.

Written by Robert William Service |


 When I was cub reporter I
Would interview the Great,
And sometimes they would make reply,
And sometimes hesitate;
But often they would sharply say,
With bushy eyebrows bent:
"Young man, your answer for to-day
 Is - No Comment.
" Nigh sixty years have called the tune, And silver is my pate; No longer do I importune Important men of state; But time has made me wise, and so When button-holed I shake My head and say: "To-day, I've no Comment to make.
" Oh, silence is a mighty shield, Verbosity is vain; let others wordy warfare wield, From arguments abstain; When faced with dialectic foes Just shrug and turn away: Be sure your wisest words are those You do not say.
Yea, Silence is a gleaming sword Whose wounds are hard to heal; Its quiet stuns the spoken word More than a thunder peal; Against it there is no defense, For like the grave-yard sod Its hush is Heaven's eloquence, The VOICE OF GOD.