Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Hearth-Stone


The leaves are sick and jaundiced, they
Drift down the air;
December's sky is sodden grey,
Dark with despair;
A bleary dawn will light anon
A world of care.

My name is cut into a stone,
No care have I;
The letters drool, as I alone
Forgotten lie:
With weed my grave is overgrown,
None cometh nigh.

A hundred hollow years will speed
As I decay;
And I'll be comrade to the weed,
Kin to the clay;
Until some hind in homing-need
Will pass my way.

Until some lover seeking hearth
With joy will see
My nameless stone sunk in the earth
And it will be
The ruddy birth of childish mirth,
And elder glee.

And none will dream it bore my name
Decades ago;
A scribbling fool of little fame,
Who loved life so . . .
Well, flesh is grass and Time must pass,--
Heigh ho! Heigh ho!

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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