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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

My Cross


I wrote a poem to the moon
But no one noticed it;
Although I hoped that late or soon
Someone would praise a bit
Its purity and grace forlone,
Its beauty tulip-cool...
But as my poem died still-born,
I felt a fool.

I wrote a verse of vulgar trend
Spiced with an oath or two;
I tacked a snapper at the end
And called it Dan McGrew.
I spouted it to bar-room boys,
Full fifty years away;
Yet still with rude and ribald noise
It lives today.

'Tis bitter truth, but there you are-
That's how a name is made;
Write of a rose, a lark, a star,
You'll never make the grade.
But write of gutter and of grime,
Of pimp and prostitute,
The multitude will read your rhyme,
And pay to boot.

So what's the use to burn and bleed
And strive for beauty's sake?
No one your poetry will read,
Your heart will only break.
But set your song in vulgar pitch,
If rhyme you will not rue,
And make your heroine a bitch...
Like Lady Lou.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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