Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Jaloppy Joy


Past ash cans and alley cats,
Fetid. overflowing gutters,
Leprous lines of rancid flats
Where the frowsy linen flutters;
With a rattle and a jar,
hark! I sing a happy ditty,
As I speed my Master far
From the poison of the City.

Speed him to the sportive sea,
Watch him walloping the briny,
Light his pipe and brew his tea
In a little wood that's piny;
Haven him to peace of mind.
Drowsy dreams in pleasant places,
Where the woman's eyes are kind,
And the men have ruddy faces.

Just a jaloppy am I,
But he's always been my lover,
So each Sunday morn I try
Youthful joy to re-discover.
For he loves the wild and free,
And though he would never know it,
Nature thrills him with the glee
And the rapture of the poet.

He's a little invoice clerk,
I'm a worn and ancient flivver;
I have an asthmatic spark,
He an alcoholic liver;
Yet with clatter, clang and creak
We are lyrical for one day;
Then another loathly week,
Living for another Sunday.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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