Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Four-Foot Shelf


'Come, see,' said he, 'my four-foot shelf,
A forty volume row;
And every one I wrote myself,
But that, of course, you know.'
I stared, I searched a memory dim,
For though an author too,
Somehow I'd never heard of him,--
None of his books I knew.

Said I: 'I'd like to borrow one,
Fond memories to recall.'
Said he: 'I'll gladly give you some,
And autograph them all.'
And so a dozen books he brought,
And signed tome after tome:
Of course I thanked him quite a lot,
And took them home.

So now I have to read his work,
Though dry as dust it be;
No portion of it may I shirk,
Lest he should question me.
This tale is true,--although it looks
To me a bloody shame,
A guy could father forty books,
yet no one know his name.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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