Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Compensation Pete - Poem by Robert William Service

He used to say: There ain't a doubt
Misfortune is a bitter pill,
But if you only pry it out
You'll find there's good in every ill.
There's comfort in the worst of woe,
There's consolation in defeat . . .
Oh what a solace-seeker! So
We called him Compensation Pete.

He lost his wealth - but was he pipped?
Why no - "That's fine," he used to say.
"I've got the government plumb gypped -
No more damn income tax to pay.
From cares of property set free,
And with no pesky social ties,
Why, even poverty may be
A benediction in disguise."

He lost his health: "Okay," he said;
"I'm getting on, may be the best.
I've always loved to lie abed,
And now I have the right to rest.
Such heaps o' things I want to do,
I'll have no time to fret or brood.
I'll read the dam ol' Bible through:
Guess it'll do me plenty good."

He has that line of sunny shine
That makes a blessing of a curse,
And he would say: "Don't let's repine,
Though things are bad they might be worse."
And so he cherished to the end
Philosophy so sane and sweet
That everybody was his friend . . .
With optimism hard to beat -
God bless old Compensation Pete.


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Read poems about / on: poverty, lost, friend, god



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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