Robert Frost |
The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside them in her apron
To tell them 'Supper'.
At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap--
He must have given the hand.
However it was,
Neither refused the meeting.
But the hand!
The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh.
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling.
Then the boy saw all--
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man's work, though a child at heart--
He saw all spoiled.
'Don't let him cut my hand off
The doctor, when he comes.
Don't let him, sister!'
But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then -- the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed.
They listened at his heart.
Little -- less -- nothing! -- and that ended it.
No more to build on there.
And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.
Robert William Service |
I used to think a pot of ink
Held magic in its fluid,
And I would ply a pen when I
Was hoary a a Druid;
But as I scratch my silver thatch
My battered old Corona
Calls out to me as plaintively
As dying Desdemona.
"For old time's sake give me a break:
To you I've been as loyal
As ever could an Underwood,
Or Remington or Royal.
The globe we've spanned together and
Two million words, maybe,
For you I've tapped - it's time you rapped
A rhyme or two for me.
"I've seen you sit and smoke and spit
With expletives profane,
Then tear with rage the virgin page
I tendered you in vain.
I've watched you glare in dull despair
Through hours of brooding thought,
Then with a shout bang gaily out
The 'word unique' you sought.
"I've heard you groan and grunt and moan
That rhyme's a wretched fetter;
That after all you're just a small
You'd balance me upon your knee
Like any lady friend,
Then with a sigh you'd lay me by
For weeks and weeks on end.
"I've known when you were mighty blue
And hammered me till dawn,
Dire poverty! But I would be
The last thing you would pawn.
Days debt-accurst! Then at its worst
The sky, behold, would clear;
A poem sold, the garret cold
Would leap to light and cheer.
"You've toted me by shore and sea
From Mexico to Maine;
From Old Cathay to Mandalay,
From Samarkand to Spain.
You've thumped me in the battle's din
And pounded me in peace;
By air and land you've lugged me and
Your shabby old valise.
"But now my keys no more with ease
To your two fingers yield;
With years of use my joints are loose,
With wear of flood and field.
And even you are slipping too:
You're puffy, stiff and grey:
Old Sport, we're done, our race is run -
Why not call it a day?"
Why not? You've been, poor old machine!
My tried and faithful friend.
With fingertip your keys I'll flip
Serenely to the end.
For even though you're stiff and slow,
No other will I buy.
And though each word be wan and blurred
I'll tap you till I die.