Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Sacrifices


Twin boys I bore, my joy, my care,
My hope, my life they were to me;
Their father, dashing, debonair,
Fell fighting at Gallipoli.
His daring gallantry, no doubt,
They 'herited in equal share:
So when the Second War broke out,
With eagerness they chose the air.

Said Dick: "The sea's too bally slow;
A flying ship's the one for me."
Said Peter: "Land! Foot-slogging - no!
The jolly sky's my cup of tea."
Well, Dick bailed out in Channel flight,
His foam-flailed body never found;
While Peter, with his plane alight,
Dashed down to death on Kentish ground.

Gay lads they were, and tall and fair,
And had they chosen land or sea,
Shirking the hazards of the air,
They might still have been left to me.
But nothing could I say or do
To move their scorn of sea and land;
Like eagles to the sun they flew -
Why? Only they could understand.

Hw day and night I prayed for them!
But knew that it was ll in vain;
They measured with heroic men,
Yet . . . I will never pray again.
Though time may grieve my hair to grey,
My lips will never kiss the rod. . . .
Only in dying I may say
In pity - "I forgive you, God."

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Friday, December 30, 2011

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