Robert Service Poems

  • 51.  
    Poppies, you try to tell me, glowing there in the wheat;
    Poppies! Ah no! You mock me: It's blood, I tell you, it's blood.It's gleaming wet in the grasses; it's glist'ning warm in the wheat;
  • 52.  
    Pines against the sky,
    Pluming the purple hill;Pines . . . and I wonder why,
  • 53.  
    First time I dared propose,
    A callow lad was I;I donned my Sunday clothes,
  • 54.  
    This morning on my pensive walk
    I saw a fisher on a rock,Who watched his ruby float careen
  • 55.  
    I call myself a Tranquilist;
    With deep detachment I exist, From friction free;
  • 56.  
    In a strange town in a far land
    They met amid a throng;They stared, they could not understand
  • 57.  
    To Italy a random tour
    I took to crown my education,Returning relatively poor
  • 58.  
    An Englishman was Thomas Paine
    Who bled for liberty;But while his fight was far from vain
  • 59.  
    That Tom was poor was sure a pity,
    Such guts for learning had the lad;He took to Greek like babe to titty,
  • 60.  
    Three widows of the Middle West
    We're grimly chewing gum;The Lido chef a quail had dressed
  • 61.  
    While I am emulating Keats
    My brother fabrics toilet seats,The which, they say, are works of art,
  • 62.  
    My rhymes are rough, and often in my rhyming
    I've drifted, silver-sailed, on seas of dream,Hearing afar the bells of Elfland chiming,
  • 63.  
    There lies the trail to Sunnydale,
    Amid the lure of laughter.Oh, how can we unhappy be
  • 64.  
    Since four decades you've been to me
    Both Guide and Friend,I fondly hope you'll always be,
  • 65.  
    Since much has been your mirth
    And fair your fate,Friend, leave your lot of earth
  • 66.  
    On the tide you ride head high,
    Like a whale 'mid little fishes;I should envy you as I
  • 67.  
    Although I have a car of class,
    A limousine,I also have a jenny ass
  • 68.  
    Oh, weren't they the fine boys! You never saw the beat of them,
    Singing all together with their throats bronze-bare;Fighting-fit and mirth-mad, music in the feet of them,
  • 69.  
    My brother Tim has children ten,
    While I have none.Maybe that's why he's toiling when
  • 70.  
    Tick-tocking in my ear
    My dollar clock I hear.‘Arise,' it seems to say:
  • 71.  
    Said Jones: “I'm glad my wife's not clever;
    Her intellect is second-rate.If she was witty she would never
  • 72.  
    He burned a hole in frozen muck,
    He pierced the icy mould,And there in six-foot dirt he struck
  • 73.  
    If you leave the gloom of London and you seek a glowing land,
    Where all except the flag is strange and new,There's a bronzed and stalwart fellow who will grip you by the hand,
  • 74.  
    Be honest, kindly, simple, true;
    Seek good in all, scorn but pretence;Whatever sorrow come to you,
  • 75.  
    The sky is like an envelope,
    One of those blue official things; And, sealing it, to mock our hope,
  • 76.  
    I wish that I could understand
    The moving marvel of my Hand;I watch my fingers turn and twist,
  • 77.  
    Up from the evil day
    Of wattle and of woad,Along man's weary way
  • 78.  
    “Where is your little boy to-day?”
    I asked her at the gate.“I used to see him at his play,
  • 79.  
    An angel was tired of heaven, as he lounged in the golden street;
    His halo was tilted sideways, and his harp lay mute at his feet;So the Master stooped in His pity, and gave him a pass to go,
  • 80.  
    I sought the trails of South and North,
    I wandered East and West;But pride and passion drove me forth
  • 81.  
    The sheep are in the silver wood,
    The cows are in the broom;The goats are in the wild mountain
  • 82.  
    “Tell Annie I'll be home in time
    To help her with her Christmas-tree.”That's what he wrote, and hark! the chime
  • 83.  
    Oh I have worn my mourning out,
    And on her grave the green grass grows;So I will hang each sorry clout
  • 84.  
    I don't think men of eighty odd
    Should let a surgeon operate;Better to pray for peace with God,
  • 85.  
    You may talk o' your lutes and your dulcimers fine,
    Your harps and your tabors and cymbals and a',But here in the trenches jist gie me for mine
  • 86.  
    She risked her all, they told me, bravely sinking
    The pinched economies of thirty years;And there the little shop was, meek and shrinking,
  • 87.  
    I pawned my sick wife's wedding ring,
    To drink and make myself a beast.I got the most that it would bring,
  • 88.  
    The Wanderlust has lured me to the seven lonely seas,
    Has dumped me on the tailing-piles of dearth;The Wanderlust has haled me from the morris chairs of ease,
  • 89.  
    (He speaks.)

  • 90.  
    Sez I: My Country calls? Well, let it call.
    I grins perlitely and declines wiv thanks.Go, let 'em plaster every blighted wall,
  • 91.  
    If fortune had not granted me
    To suck the Muse's teats,I think I would have liked to be
  • 92.  
    She was so wonderful I wondered
    If wedding me she had not blundered;She was so pure, so high above me,
  • 93.  
    What have we done, Oh Lord, that we
    Are evil starred?How have we erred and sinned to be
  • 94.  
    I've sung of Violet de Vere, that slinky, minky dame,
    Of Gertie of the Diamond Tooth, and Touch-the-Button Nell,And Maye Lamore,-at eighty-four I oughta blush wi' shame
  • 95.  
    There were two brothers, John and James,
    And when the town went up in flames,To save the house of James dashed John,
  • 96.  
    Says Bauldy MacGreegor frae Gleska tae Hecky MacCrimmon frae Skye:
    “That's whit I hate maist aboot fechtin'-it makes ye sae deevilish dry;Noo jist hae a keek at yon ferm-hoose them Gairmans are poundin' sae fine,
  • 97.  
    Toil's a tunnel, there's no way out
    For fellows, the like o' me;A beggar wi' only a crust an' a clout
  • 98.  
    Because I've eighty years and odd,
    And darkling is my day,I now prepare to meet my God,
  • 99.  
    It's mighty lonesome-like and drear.
    Above the Wild the moon rides high,And shows up sharp and needle-clear
  • 100.  
    Can you recall, dear comrade, when we tramped God's land together,
    And we sang the old, old Earth-song, for our youth was very sweet;When we drank and fought and lusted, as we mocked at tie and tether,
Total 831 poems written by Robert Service

Poem of the day

A. E. Housman Poem
When Smoke Stood Up From Ludlow
 by A. E. Housman

When smoke stood up from Ludlow,
And mist blew off from Teme,
And blithe afield to ploughing
Against the morning beam
I strode beside my team,

The blackbird in the coppice
Looked out to see me stride,

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