Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Death Of A Cockroach - Poem by Robert William Service

I opened wide the bath-room door,
And all at once switched on the light,
When moving swift across the floor
I saw a streak of ebon bright:
Then quick, with slipper in my hand,
Before it could escape,--I slammed.
I missed it once, I missed it twice,
But got it ere it gained its lair.
I fear my words were far from nice,
Though d----s with me are rather rare:
Then lo! I thought that dying roach
Regarded me with some reproach.

Said I: "Don't think I grudge you breath;
I hate to spill your greenish gore,
But why did you invite your death
By straying on my bath-room floor?"
"It is because," said he (or she),
"Adventure is my destiny.

"By evolution I was planned,
And marvellously made as you;
And I am led to understand
The selfsame God conceived us two:
Sire, though the coup de grâce you give,
Even a roach has right to live."

Said I: "Of course you have a right,--
But not to blot my bath-room floor.
Yet though with slipper I may smite,
Your doom I morally deplore . . .
From cellar gloom to stellar space
Let bards and beetles have their place.


Comments about Death Of A Cockroach by Robert William Service

  • Terry Craddock (4/25/2015 11:48:00 PM)


    Yet though with slipper I may smite,
    Your doom I morally deplore...
    From cellar gloom to stellar space
    Let bards and beetles have their place.

    wow kinda makes the death of a cockroach cosmic, best cockroach poem I have ever read :)
    (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Shylendra K S (4/25/2015 9:15:00 PM)


    Very realistic and experience of all. Optly brought down as a poem. (Report) Reply

  • (4/25/2015 9:14:00 PM)


    What drivel! As if you could write a poem about such a revolting, dirty creature. M. Walker. (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (4/25/2015 7:50:00 PM)


    One of my favorite poets showing his great sense of humor. (Report) Reply

  • Chinedu Dike (4/25/2015 5:24:00 PM)


    A lovely narrative piece, well articulated and penned with conviction. (Report) Reply

  • Ging Taping (4/25/2015 12:06:00 PM)


    It simple but deep.. I am also a killer roach :) Now I feel sorry.I feel guilty But to depend myself roach scared me So i spank with my slipper and kill roach to death. Lol.. Nice one (Report) Reply

  • Richard Blay (4/25/2015 7:59:00 AM)


    Nicely written and very deep (Report) Reply

  • Madathil Rajendran Nair (4/25/2015 4:54:00 AM)


    From cellar gloom to stellar space
    Let bards and beetles have their place

    Well how is this peaceful co-existence possible is the big question. Thought-provoking poem.
    (Report) Reply

  • Thomas Duncky (4/25/2015 2:55:00 AM)


    I love Robert William Service, he never disappoints with his philosophical views of life and the world (Report) Reply

Read all 9 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: destiny, hate, fear, death, light, god



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
[Report Error]