Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Convicts Love Canaries


Dick's dead! It was the Polack guard
Put powdered glass into his cage
When I was tramping round the yard,--
I could have killed him in my rage.
I slugged him with that wrench I stole:
That's why I'm rotting in the Hole.

Dick's dead! Sure I wish I was too.
His honey breast, his lacy claws
I kissed and cried, for well I knew
They murdered him. I cursed because
He was my only chum on earth . . .
Oh how he cheered me with his mirth!

Dick's dead! I know he cared for me.
Being I'm Irish I love song,
And there was heaven in his glee;
I'd bless his heart the dour day long.
I'd let him flutter round the cell;
He'd light upon my hand . . . Oh hell!

Dick's dead! They've thrown me in the Hole.
To break our spirits how they try!
My bed a plank, blind as a mole,
Sure I'll be nuts before I die . . .
Here in the night, dark as the Pit
I'm seeing sunny wings aflit.
Here in the silence, hark his song!
--Poor Dick! Oh Christ, how long, how long!

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Friday, December 30, 2011

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