Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Answer


Bill has left his house of clay,
Slammed the door and gone away:
How he laughed but yesterday!

I had two new jokes to tell,
Salty, but he loved them well:
Now I see his empty shell.

Poker-faced he looks at me;
Peeved to miss them jokes - how h
Would have belly-laughed with glee!

He gives me the pip, I swear;
Seems just like he isn't there:
Flown the coop - I wonder where?

Bill had no belief in "soul";
Thought the body was the whole,
And the grave the final goal.

Didn't reckon when we pass,
This old carcass maybe has
Spirit that sneaks out like gas.

"Look here, Bill, I'm asking you
What's the Answer? Tell me true:
Is death the end of all we do?

"Hand me out the dope - are we
No more than monkeys on a tree?"
... And then I swear to God I see
bill bat an eye and - wink at me.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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