Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Robbers


Alas! I see that thrushes three
Are ravishing my old fig tree,
In whose green shade I smoked my pipe
And waited for the fruit to ripe;
From green to purple softly swell
Then drop into my lap to tell
That it is succulently sweet
And excellent to eat.

And now I see the crimson streak,
The greedy gash of yellow beak.
And look! the finches come in throng,
In wavy passage, light with song;
Of course I could scare them away,
But with a shrug: 'The heck!' I say.
I owe them something for their glee,
So let them have their spree.

For all too soon in icy air
My fig tree will be bleak and bare,
Until it wake from Winter sleep
And button buds begin to peep.
Then broad leaves come to shelter me
In luminous placidity.
Then figs will ripen with a rush
And brash will come the thrush.

But what care I though birds destroy
My fruit,--they pay me back with joy.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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