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Robert William Service

Rhyme For My Tomb

Here lyeth one
Who loved the sun;
Who lived with zest,
Whose work was done,
Reward, dear Lord,
Thy weary son:
May he be blest
With peace and rest,
Nor wake again,
Amen.

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To Frank Dodd

Since four decades you've been to me
Both Guide and Friend,
I fondly hope you'll always be,
Right to the end;
And though my rhymes you rarely scan
(Oh, small the blame!)
I joy that on this Page I can
Inscribe your name.

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The Sceptic

My Father Christmas passed away
When I was barely seven.
At twenty-one, alack-a-day,
I lost my hope of heaven.

Yet not in either lies the curse:
The hell of it's because
I don't know which loss hurt the worse --
My God or Santa Claus.

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No Sourdough

To be a bony feed Sourdough
You must, by Yukon Law,
Have killed a moose,
And robbed a sluice,
AND BUNKED UP WITH A SQUAW. . . .

Alas! Sourdough I'll never be.
Oh, sad is my excuse:
My shooting's so damn bad, you see . . .
I've never killed a moose.

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Les Grands Mutiles

I saw three wounded of the war:
And the first had lost his eyes;
And the second went on wheels and had
No legs below the thighs;
And the face of the third was featureless,
And his mouth ran cornerwise.
So I made a rhyme about each one,
And this is how my fancies run.

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The sunshine seeks my little room

The sunshine seeks my little room
To tell me Paris streets are gay;
That children cry the lily bloom
All up and down the leafy way;
That half the town is mad with May,
With flame of flag and boom of bell:
For Carnival is King to-day;
So pen and page, awhile farewell.

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The Wistful One

I sought the trails of South and North,
I wandered East and West;
But pride and passion drove me forth
And would not let me rest.
And still I seek, as still I roam,
A snug roof overhead;
Four walls, my own; a quiet home. . . .
"You'll have it -- when you're dead."

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Aspiration

When I was daft (as urchins are),
And full if fairy lore,
I aimed an arrow at a star
And hit - the barnyard door.

I've shot at heaps of stars since then,
but always it's the same -
A barnyard door has mocked me when
Uranus was my aim.

So, I'll shoot starward as of yore,
Though wide my arrows fall;
I'd rather hit a big barn door
Then never aim at all.

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Fi-Fi In Bed

Up into the sky I stare;
All the little stars I see;
And I know that God is there
O, how lonely He must be!

Me, I laugh and leap all day,
Till my head begins to nod;
He's so great, He cannot play:
I am glad I am not God.

Poor kind God upon His throne,
Up there in the sky so blue,
Always, always all alone . . .
"Please, dear God, I pity You."

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Fore-Warning

I'd rather be the Jester than the Minstrel of the King;
I'd rather jangle cap and bells than twang the stately harp;
I'd rather make his royal ribs with belly-laughter ring,
Than see him sitting in the suds and sulky as a carp.
I'd rather be the Court buffoon than its most high-browed sage:
So you who read, take head, take heed, -
Ere yet you turn my page.

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