Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
I wish I had a simple style
In writing verse,
As in his prose had Ernie Pyle,
So true and terse;
Springing so forthright from the heart
With guileless art.
I wish I could put back a dram
As Ernie could;
I wish that I could cuss and damn
As soldier should;
And fain with every verse would I
Alas! I cannot claim his high
Nor emulate his pungent, dry
Nor share his love of common folk
Who bear life's yolk.
Oh Ernie, who on earth I knew
In war and wine,
Though frail of fame, in soul how you
Were pure and fine!
I'm proud that once when we were plastered
You called me 'bastard.'
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