Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Stowaway


We'd left the sea-gulls long behind,
And we were almost in mid-ocean;
The sky was soft and blue and kind,
The boat had scarcely any motion;
Except that songfully it sped,
And sheared the foam swift as an arrow . . .
There fluttered down a city sparrow.

I stared with something of surprise;
The apparition mocked my seeming;
In fact I gently rubbed my eyes
And wondered if I were not dreaming.
It must, I mused, at Montreal
Have hopped abroad, somewhere to nestle,
And failed to hear the warning call
For visitors to leave he vessel.

Well, anyway a bird it was,
With winky eyes and wings a-twitter,
Unwise to migration Laws,
From Canada a hardy flitter;
And as it hopped about the deck
So happily I wondered whether
It wasn't scramming from Quebec
For London's mild and moister weather.

My rover's heart went out to it,
That vain, vivacious little devil;
And as I watched it hop and flit
I hoped it would not come to evil;
It planned above the plangent sea
(A foolish flight, I'd never risk it),
And then it circled back to me
And from my palm picked crumbs of biscuit.

Well, voyages come to an end
(WE make them with that understanding);
One morn I missed my feathered friend,
And hope it made a happy landing.
Oh may she ever happy be
(It 'twas a "she") with eggs to sit on,
And rest on our side of he sea,
A brave, brown, cheery, chirping Briton.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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