Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

At The Parade


I cannot flap a flag
Or beat a drum;
Behind the mob I lag
With larynx dumb;
Alas! I fear I'm not
A Patriot.

With acrid eyes I see
The soul of things;
And equal unto me
Are cooks and kings;
I would not cross the street
A duke to meet.

Oh curse me for a fool
To be so proud;
To stand so still and cool
Amid the crowd.
For President or Peer
God, let me cheer!

But no, despite the glee
My heart is cold;
I think that it may be
Because I'm old;
I'm dumb where millions yell . . .
Oh what the hell!

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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