Treasure Island

Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Ripe Fruit


Through eyelet holes I watched the crowd
Rain of confetti fling;
Their joy is lush, their laughter loud,
For Carnival is King.
Behind his chariot I pace
To ean my petty pay;
They laugh to see my monster face:
"Ripe Fruit," I hear them say.

I do not laugh: my shoulders sag;
No heart have I for glee,
Because I hold aloft a hag
Who grins enough for me;
A hideous harridan who bears
In crapulous display,
Like two grub-eaten mouldy pears
Her bubbies on a tray.

Ripe Fruit! Oh, God! It's hell to think
How I have drifted down
Through vice and dice and dope and drink
To play the sordid clown;
That I who held the golden key
To operatic fame,
Should gnaw the crust of misery
And drain the dregs of shame.

What matter! I'll get soused to-night,
And happy I will be,
To sit within a tavern bright,
A trollop on my knee. . . .
So let the crazy pipers pipe,
And let the rapture ring:
Ripe fruit am I - yea, rotten ripe,
And Carnival is King.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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