Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

My Bear


I never killed a bear because
I always thought them critters was
So kindo' cute;
Though round my shack they often came,
I'd raise my rifle and take aim,
But couldn't shoot.
Yet there was one full six-feet tall
Who came each night and gobbled all
The grub in sight;
On my pet garden truck he'd feast,
Until I thought I must at least
Give him a fight.

I put some corn mush in a pan;
He lapped it swiftly down and ran
With bruin glee;
A second day I did the same,
Again with eagerness he came
To gulp and flee.
The third day I mixed up a cross
Of mustard and tobasco sauce,
And ginger too,
Well spiced with pepper of cayenne,
Topped it with treacled mush, and then
Set out the brew.

He was a huge and husky chap;
I saw him shamble to the trap,
The dawn was dim.
He squatted down on his behind,
And through the cheese-cloth window-blind
I peeked at him.
I never saw a bear so glad;
A look of joy seraphic had
His visage brown;
He slavered, and without suspish-
- Ion hugged that horrid dish,
And swilled it down.

Just for a moment he was still,
Then he erupted loud and shrill
With frantic yell;
The picket fence he tried to vault;
He turned a double somersault,
And ran like hell.
I saw him leap into the lake,
As if a thirst of fire to slake,
And thrash up foam;
And then he sped along the shore,
And beat his breast with raucous roar,
And made for home.

I guess he told the folks back there
My homestead was taboo for bear
For since that day,
Although my pumpkins star the ground,
No other bear has come around,
Nor trace of bruin have I found,
- Well, let me pray!

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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