Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

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The Cremation Of Sam McGee


There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
........................
........................
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  • Bronze Star - 5,737 Points * Sunprincess * (6/22/2014 7:40:00 PM)

    .......loved reading this write.....for a minute I almost thought this was a true story...enjoyed the whole poem but the ending was especially captivating.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 12 Points Udiah Witness to YAH (1/15/2013 5:18:00 AM)

    I have always been a Poe fan. And yes this style of writing does follow Poe's type of drama. It is written in a somewhat classic style, but one is captivated by its rythmic changing rhyming beat and how easily it flows off ones tongue as they read along. Some say it's like The Raven, I say it's Poe's story of the Red Death that it best personifies although one may argue that it's not a complete tragedy. To me what Robert William Service has done is to take a piece of History and place it in a most memorable verse allowing it to be passed on for generations. Is not that what the poets of the ancient times did? They where the messengers, the news carriers and the story tellers at a time when not everyone had daily access to newspapers and books. These ancient news carriers thus put things in verse not only for their memory, but it also helped others to remember and relay as many of the facts as they could. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Allison Helman (6/19/2012 10:00:00 PM)

    I do appreciate the naturalness of the rhyme and, it is quite a tale but,
    I realize more than anything else, that I was fairly rapt because there was something familiar to it beyond the Jack London circumstances. The whole feel of the poem and poetic devises used would seem to be rather suggestive of Edgar Allen Poe and more is the pity because, Mr. Service appears gifted enough to stand distinct. I don't wish to imply that the poem is not a professional work, I wish to simply pose the question of whether as artists we should laud this. Already Reported Reply

  • Rookie - 16 Points Robert Bartlett (10/5/2011 9:03:00 PM)

    As a high school student in 1953, I memorized this poem and delivered it in a school variety show. Following immediately after a lively song and dance routine, the audience was jazzed up when I began the recitation, but after a few moments the audience settled under the spell of the dramatic lines which this ballad delivers and by the end of the rendition that audience of over three hundred fellow students was spellbound. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie David Larson (11/25/2010 11:18:00 PM)

    I remember hearing this from my Creative Writing teacher, with salt and pepper hair and beard.Patrick Mealy was his name and the way he read it (in memorization) was more dramatic than any movie could have presented! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (6/18/2010 4:48:00 AM)

    This is a brilliant poem in every way. I have no doubt that Service was a true genius. His metre and rhyming are absolutely natural – the story grips – and it is in everyway the equal to a narrative poem such as Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner”. The sustaining of half rhymes in every line is wonderful. And the characterisation by verse of the narrator is perfect. I can find not a single flaw in this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joseph Poewhit (6/18/2010 4:40:00 AM)

    Reminded me of Son of Sam with his 44 bulldog seeking an inner gold. Now in a cell, wanting the door closed in a repentant cell of salvation, like the ship. Gold comes in different aspects, an the mortal lusts it stimulates in life. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Pandian Angelina (6/18/2009 1:41:00 PM)

    It is a great poem in that
    It has introduced its author
    To become a favourite of
    A person living 180 degrees off
    Right in the heart of Chennai, India
    Read it when I was ten and
    Have not forgotten it since!
    Angel (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (6/18/2009 7:57:00 AM)

    This is spell-binding stuff. A poem to surpass Coleridge's 'Ancient Mariner' and Poe's 'The Raven' in narrative and atmosphere. It rises well above the tumpty-tump of Service's metre and becomes great (?) art. (Report) Reply

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