Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Roulette - Poem by Robert William Service

I'll wait until my money's gone
Before I take the sleeping pills;
Then when they find me in the dawn,
Remote from earthly ails and ills
They'll say: "She's broke, the foreign bitch!"
And dump me in the common ditch.

So thought I, of all hope bereft,
And by my evil fate obsessed;
A thousand franks was all I'd left
Of that fair fortune I possessed.
...I throw it on the table there,
And wait, with on my lips a prayer.

I fear my very life's at stake;
My note is lying on the Red . . .
I know I'll lose it, then I'll take
My pills and sleep until I'm dead . . .
Oh God of mercy, understand!
In pity guide the croupier's hand.

My heart beats hard, my lips are dry;
I feel I cannot bear to look.
I dread to hear the croupier's cry,
I'll sit down in this quiet nook.
The lights go dim, my senses reel . . .
See! Jesus Christ is at the wheel.

* * * * * * *

Kind folks arouse me from my trance.
"The Red has come ten times," they say.
"Oh do not risk another chance;
Please, Lady, take your gains away,
And to the Lord of Luck give thanks -
You've won nigh half a million franks."

Aye, call me just a daft old dame;
I knit and sew to make my bread,
And nevermore I'll play that game,
For I've a glory in my head. . . .
Ah well I know, to stay my fall,
'Twas our dear Lord who spun the ball.


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Read poems about / on: thanks, money, red, evil, fate, sleep, fear, hope, god, lost



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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