Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Receptionist


France is the fairest land on earth,
Lovely to heart's desire,
And twice a year I span its girth,
Its beauty to admire.
But when a pub I seek each night,
To my profound vexation
On form they hand me I've to write
My occupation.

So once in a derisive mood
My pen I nibbled;
And though I know I never should:
'Gangster' I scribbled.
But as the clerk with startled face
Looked stark suspicion,
I blurred it out and in its place
Put 'Politician.'

Then suddenly dissolved his frown;
His face fused to a grin,
As humorously he set down
The form I handed in.
His shrug was eloquent to view.
Quoth he: 'What's in a name?
In France, alas! the lousy two
Are just the same.'

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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