Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Locket


From out her shabby rain-coat pocket
The little Jew girl in the train
Produced a dinted silver locket
With pasted in it portraits twain.
"These are my parents, sir" she said;
"Or were, for now I fear they're dead.

"I know to Belsen they were sent;
I never heard of them again.
So many were like that - they went,
Our woeful quest was all in vain.
I was in London with a friend,
Or I, too, would have shared their end.

"They could have got away, I'm told,
And joined me here in Marylebne,
But Grannie was so sick and old,
They could not leave her there alone.
When they were seized she cried and cried:
Thank God! 'Twas in her bed she died.

"How did they die? I cannot bear
To think of that - it crazes me.
My mother was so sweet, so fair;
My father handsome as you see . . .
I'm sure no daughter ever had
More lovely parents . . . Yes, it's sad.

"But for their loss I shall not grieve;
I'll hug the hope they still survive;
Oh, I must make myself believe
Somehow, somewhere they're still alive. . . .

"Well, that's my only souvenir,
A locket stained with many a tear."

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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