Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Poet's Path


My garden hath a slender path
With ivy overgrown,
A secret place where once would pace
A pot all alone;
I see him now with fretted brow,
Plunged deep in thought;
And sometimes he would write maybe,
And sometimes he would not.

A verse a day he used to say
Keeps worry from the door;
Without the stink of printer's ink
How life would be a bore!
And so from chime of breakfast time
To supper he would beat
The pathway flat, a mossy mat
For his poetic feet.

He wrote, I'm told, of gods of old
And mythologic men;
Far better he had sung, maybe,
Of plain folks now and then;
With bitterness he would confess
Too lofty was his aim. . . .
And then with woe I saw him throw
His poems to the flame.

He went away one bitter day
When death was in the sky;
No further word I ever heard
Beyond his last goodbye.
Did battle grim take toll of him
In heaven-rocking wrath?
Oh did he write in starry flight
His name in flame on hell-brewed night?
... Well, there's my poet's path.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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