Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

At Eighty Years


As nothingness draws near
How I can see
Inexorably clear
My vanity.
My sum of worthiness
Always so small,
Dwindles from less to less
To none at all.

As grisly destiny
Claims me at last,
How grievous seem to me
Sins of my past!
How keen a conscience edge
Can come to be!
How pitiless the dredge
Of memory!

Ye proud ones of the earth
Who count your gains,
What cherish you of worth
For all your pains?
E'er death shall slam the door,
Will you, like me,
Face fate and count the score--
FUTILITY.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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