Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Tom


That Tom was poor was sure a pity,
Such guts for learning had the lad;
He took to Greek like babe to titty,
And he was mathematic mad.
I loved to prime him up with knowledge,
A brighter lad I never knew;
I dreamed that he would go to college
And there be honoured too.

But no! His Dad said, "Son, I need you
To keep the kettle on the boil;
No longer can I clothe and feed you,
Buy study books and midnight oil.
I carry on as best I'm able,
A humble tailor, as you know;
And you must squat cross-legged a table
And learn to snip and sew."

And that is what poor Tom is doing.
He bravely makes the best of it;
But as he "fits" you he is knowing
That he himself is a misfit;
And thinks as he fulfils his calling,
With patient heart yet deep distaste,
Like clippings from his shears down-falling,
--He, too, is Waste.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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