Robert Service Poems

  • 101.  
    So now I take a bitter road
    Whereon no bourne I see,And wearily I lift the load
  • 102.  
    Gold! We leapt from our benches. Gold! We sprang from our stools.
    Gold! We wheeled in the furrow, fired with the faith of fools.Fearless, unfound, unfitted, far from the night and the cold,
  • 103.  
    The waves have a story to tell me,
    As I lie on the lonely beach;Chanting aloft in the pine-tops,
  • 104.  
    That Barret, the painter of pictures, what feeling for color he had!
    And Fanning, the maker of music, such melodies mirthful and mad!And Harley, the writer of stories, so whimsical, tender and glad!
  • 105.  
    Ma tried to wash her garden slacks but couldn't get 'em clean
    And so she thought she'd soak 'em in a bucket o' benzine.It worked all right. She wrung 'em out then wondered what she'd do
  • 106.  
    Of all the men I ever knew
    The tinkingest was Uncle Jim;If there were any chores to do
  • 107.  
    I will not wash my face;
    I will not brush my hair;I “pig” around the place-
  • 108.  
    When I was with a Shakespeare show
    I played the part of Guildenstern,Or Rosenkrantz-at least I know
  • 109.  
    The sunshine seeks my little room
    To tell me Paris streets are gay;That children cry the lily bloom
  • 110.  
    It is not power and fame
    That make success;It is not rank or name
  • 111.  
    When you have sailed the seven seas
    And looped the ends of earth,You'll long at last for slippered ease
  • 112.  
    My stretcher is one scarlet stain,
    And as I tries to scrape it clean,I tell you wot-I'm sick with pain
  • 113.  
    The cow-moose comes to water, and the beaver's overbold,
    The net is in the eddy of the stream;The teepee stars the vivid sward with russet, red and gold,
  • 114.  
    The Spirit of the Unborn Babe peered through the window-pane,
    Peered through the window-pane that glowed like beacon in the night;For, oh, the sky was desolate and wild with wind and rain;
  • 115.  
    I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
    I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.Was it famine or scurvy-I fought it;
  • 116.  
    When the long, long day is over, and the Big Boss gives me my pay,
    I hope that it won't be hell-fire, as some of the parsons say.And I hope that it won't be heaven, with some of the parsons I've met-
  • 117.  
    Give me the scorn of the stars and a peak defiant;
    Wail of the pines and a wind with the shout of a giant;Night and a trail unknown and a heart reliant.
  • 118.  
    What do they matter, our headlong hates, when we take the toll of our Dead?
    Think ye our glory and gain will pay for the torrent of blood we have shed?By the cheers of our Victory will the heart of the mother be comforted?
  • 119.  
    (With apologies to the singer of the “Song of the Banjo”.)

  • 120.  
    Heed me, feed me, I am hungry, I am red-tongued with desire;
    Boughs of balsam, slabs of cedar, gummy fagots of the pine,Heap them on me, let me hug them to my eager heart of fire,
  • 121.  
    “Deny your God!” they ringed me with their spears;
    Blood-crazed were they, and reeking from the strife;Hell-hot their hate, and venom-fanged their sneers,
  • 122.  
    Because back home in Tennessee
    I was a champeen shot,They made a sniper outa me
  • 123.  
    Three men I saw beside a bar,
    Regarding o'er their bottle,A frog who smoked a rank cigar
  • 124.  
    I'm just an ordinary chap
    Who comes home to his tea,And mostly I don't care a rap
  • 125.  
    Out of the night a crash,
    A roar, a rampart of light;A flame that leaped like a lash,
  • 126.  
    I burned my fingers on the stove
    And wept with bitterness;But poor old Auntie Maggie strove
  • 127.  
    A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
    The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
  • 128.  
    The humble garret where I dwell
    Is in that Quarter called the Latin;It isn't spacious-truth to tell,
  • 129.  
    I was a seed that fell
    In silver dew;And nobody could tell,
  • 130.  
    Happiness, a-roving round
    For a sweet abiding place,In a stately palace found
  • 131.  
    “The spirits do not like the light,”
    The medium said, and turned the switch;The little lady on my right
  • 132.  
    When from my fumbling hand the tired pen falls,
    And in the twilight weary droops my head;While to my quiet heart a still voice calls,
  • 133.  
    I asked a silver sage
    With race nigh run:‘Tell me in old of age
  • 134.  
    My Father Christmas passed away
    When I was barely seven.At twenty-one, alack-a-day,
  • 135.  
    Twin boys I bore, my joy, my care,
    My hope, my life they were to me;Their father, dashing, debonair,
  • 136.  
    Oh, how good it is to be
    Foot-loose and heart-free!Just my dog and pipe and I, underneath the vast sky;
  • 137.  
    Alas! I see that thrushes three
    Are ravishing my old fig tree,In whose green shade I smoked my pipe
  • 138.  
    We couldn't sit and study for the law;
    The stagnation of a bank we couldn't stand;For our riot blood was surging, and we didn't need much urging
  • 139.  
    There's a four-pronged buck a-swinging in the shadow of my cabin,
    And it roamed the velvet valley till to-day;But I tracked it by the river, and I trailed it in the cover,
  • 140.  
    The same old sprint in the morning, boys, to the same old din and smut;
    Chained all day to the same old desk, down in the same old rut;Posting the same old greasy books, catching the same old train:
  • 141.  
    They turned him loose; he bowed his head,
    A felon, bent and grey.His face was even as the Dead,
  • 142.  
    To-day within a grog-shop near
    I saw a newly captured linnet,Who beat against his cage in fear,
  • 143.  
    Tramp, tramp, the grim road, the road from Mons to Wipers
    (I've ‘ammered out this ditty with me bruised and bleedin' feet);Tramp, tramp, the dim road-we didn't ‘ave no pipers,
  • 144.  
    Fearing that she might go one day
    With some fine fellow of her choice,I called her from her childish play,
  • 145.  
    It's fine to have a blow-out in a fancy restaurant,
    With terrapin and canvas-back and all the wine you want;To enjoy the flowers and music, watch the pretty women pass,
  • 146.  
    France is the fairest land on earth,
    Lovely to heart's desire,And twice a year I span its girth,
  • 147.  
    When you're lost in the Wild, and you're scared as a child,
    And Death looks you bang in the eye,And you're sore as a boil, it's according to Hoyle
  • 148.  
    I sought Him on the purple seas,
    I sought Him on the peaks aflame;Amid the gloom of giant trees
  • 149.  
    I strolled up old Bonanza, where I staked in ninety-eight,
    A-purpose to revisit the old claim.I kept thinking mighty sadly of the funny ways of Fate,
  • 150.  
    Upspoke the culprit at the bar,
    Conducting his own case:‘Your Lordship, I have gone to far,
Total 831 poems written by Robert Service

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When smoke stood up from Ludlow,
And mist blew off from Teme,
And blithe afield to ploughing
Against the morning beam
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The blackbird in the coppice
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