Robert William Service
The Living Dead
Since I have come to years sedate
I see with more and more acumen
The bitter irony of Fate,
The vanity of all things human.
Why, just to-day some fellow said,
As I surveyed Fame's outer portal:
"By gad! I thought that you were dead."
Poor me, who dreamed to be immortal!
But that's the way with many men
Whose name one fancied time-defying;
We thought that they were dust and then
We found them living by their dying.
Like dogs we penmen have our day,
To brief best-sellerdom elected;
And then, "thumbs down," we slink away
And die forgotten and neglected.
Ah well, my lyric fling I've had;
A thousand bits of verse I've minted;
And some, alas! were very bad,
And some, alack! were best unprinted.
But if I've made my muse a bawd
(Since I am earthy as a ditch is),
I'll answer humbly to my God:
Most men at times have toyed with bitches.
Yes, I have played with Lady Rhyme,
And had a long and lovely innings;
And when the Umpire calls my time
I'll blandly quit and take my winnings.
I'll hie me to some Sleepydale,
And feed the ducks and pat the poodles,
And prime my paunch with cakes and ale,
And blether with the village noodles.
And then some day you'll idly scan
The Times obituary column,
And say: "Dear me, the poor old man!"
And for a moment you'll look solemn.
"So all this time he's been alive -
In realms of rhyme a second-rater . . .
But gad! to live to ninety-five:
Let's toast his ghost - a sherry, waiter!"
Robert William Service's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (The Living Dead by Robert William Service )
Did you read them?
Poem of the Day
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- All the World's a Stage, William Shakespeare
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
- If, Rudyard Kipling
Paul Laurence Dunbar
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
- Heather Burns
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990)