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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Bindle Stiff


When I was brash and gallant-gay
Just fifty years ago,
I hit the ties and beat my way
From Maine to Mexico;
For though to Glasgow gutter bred
A hobo heart had I,
And followed where adventure led,
Beneath a brazen sky.

And as I tramped the railway track
I owned a single shirt;
Like canny Scot I bought it black
So's not to show the dirt;
A handkerchief held all my gear,
My razor and my comb;
I was a freckless lad, I fear,
With all the world for home.

Yet oh I thought the life was grand
And loved my liberty!
Romance was my bed-fellow and
The stars my company.
And I would think, each diamond dawn,
"How I have forged my fate!
Where are the Gorbals and the Tron,
And where the Gallowgate?"

Oh daft was I to wander wild,
And seek the Trouble Trail,
As weakly as a wayward child,
And darkly doomed to fail . . .
Aye, bindle-stiff I hit the track
Just fifty years ago . . .
Yet now . . . I drive my Cadillac
From Maine to Mexico.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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