Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Woman At The Gate


"Where is your little boy to-day?"
I asked her at the gate.
"I used to see him at his play,
And often I would wait:
He was so beautiful, so bright,
I watched him with delight.

"He had a tiny motor-car
And it was painted red;
He wound it up; it ran so far,
So merrily it sped.
I think he told me that it was
A gift from Santa Claus."

The woman said: "It ran so far
He followed it with joy.
Then came a real motor-car,--
He sought to save his toy . . .
My little boy is far away
Where angel children play.

"His father perished in the War;
Now I am all alone,
And death is all I'm longing for . . ."
So said with face of stone
That woman. "Curse their crazy cars
And cruel wars!"

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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