Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Poor Cock Robin


My garden robin in the Spring
Was rapturous with glee,
And followed me with wistful wing
From pear to apple tree;
His melodies the summer long
He carolled with delight,
As if he could with jewelled song
Find favour in my sight.

And now that Autumn's in the air
He's singing singing still,
And yet somehow I cannot bear
The frenzy of his bill;
The keen wind ruffs his ruddy breast
As to bare boughs he clings;
The sun is sullen in the West
Yet still he sings and sings.

Soon, soon the legions of the snow
Will pitch their tents again,
And round my window-sill I know
He'll call for crumbs in vein;
The pulsing passion of his throat
Has hint of Winter woe;
The piercing sweetness of his note
entreats me not to go.

In vein, in vain, Oh valiant one,
You sing to bid me stay!
For all my life is in the sun
And I must fly away.
yet by no gold or orange glow
Will I be comforted,
Seeing blood-bright in bitter snow -
A robin dead.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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