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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Pigeon Shooting


They say that Monte Carlo is
A sunny place for shady people;
But I'm not in the gambling biz,
And sober as a parish steeple.
so though this paradisal spot
The devil's playground of the rich is,
I love it and I love it not,
As men may sometimes fall for bitches.

I lazed beneath the sky's blue bliss,
The sea swooned with a sequin glimmer;
The breeze was shy as maiden kiss,
The palms sashayed in silken shimmr.
The peace I soaked in every pore
did me more good than ten religions . . .
And then: Bang! Bang! my joy was o'er;
Says I: "There goes them poor dam pigeons."

I see them bob from out their traps,
the swarded green aroud them ringing;
bewildered, full of joy perhaps,
With sudden hope of skyway winging.
They blink a moment at the sun,
They flutter free of earthy tether . . .
A fat man holds a smoking gun,
A boy collects some blood and feather.

And so through all the sainted day,
Bang! Bang! a bunch of plumage gory.
Five hundred francs they cost to slay,
And few there live to tell the story . . .
Yet look! there's one so swift to fly,
Despite the shots a course he's steering . . .
Brave little bird! he's winging high,
He's gained the trees - I feel like cheering.

In Monte Carlo's garden glades
With dreamful bliss one softly lingers,
And lazily in leafy shades
The doves pick breadcrumbs from one fingers . . .
Bang! Bang! Farewell, oh sylvan courts!
Where peace and joy are sweetly blended . . .
God curse these lousy Latin sports!
My pigeons scat, my dream is ended.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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