Treasure Island

Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Ant Hill


Black ants have made a musty mound
My purple pine tree under,
And I am often to be found,
Regarding it with wonder.
Yet as I watch, somehow it;s odd,
Above their busy striving
I feel like an ironic god
Surveying human striving.
Then one day came my serving maid,
And just in time I caught her,
For on each lusty arm she weighed
A pail of boiling water.
She said with glee: "When this I spill,
Of life they'll soon be lacking."
Said I: "If even one you kill,
You bitch! I'll send you packing."

Just think - ten thousand eager lives
In that toil-worn upcasting,
Their homes, their babies and their wives
Destroyed in one fell blasting!
Imagine that swift-scalding hell! . . .
And though, mayhap, it seems a
Fantastic, far-fetched parallel -
Remember . . . Hiroshima.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Danuta Glendenning (3/23/2007 5:52:00 PM)

    He displays such an insight into other sentient beings, it's amazing. Reminds me of J.Gay's poem 'The Turkey and the Ant', where the ant gets a human voice, beseeching the turkey, intend on consuming the ants: 'control thy more voracious bill, nor, for a breakfast nations kill'. (Report) Reply

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