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The Cremation Of Sam Mcgee

Rating: 4.5

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.

Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Allison Helman 19 June 2012

I do appreciate the naturalness of the rhyme and, it is quite a tale but, I realize more than anything else, that I was fairly rapt because there was something familiar to it beyond the Jack London circumstances. The whole feel of the poem and poetic devises used would seem to be rather suggestive of Edgar Allen Poe and more is the pity because, Mr. Service appears gifted enough to stand distinct. I don't wish to imply that the poem is not a professional work, I wish to simply pose the question of whether as artists we should laud this.

18 56 Reply
* Sunprincess * 22 June 2014

.......loved reading this write.....for a minute I almost thought this was a true story...enjoyed the whole poem but the ending was especially captivating....

28 33 Reply
Udiah Witness to YAH 15 January 2013

I have always been a Poe fan. And yes this style of writing does follow Poe's type of drama. It is written in a somewhat classic style, but one is captivated by its rythmic changing rhyming beat and how easily it flows off ones tongue as they read along. Some say it's like The Raven, I say it's Poe's story of the Red Death that it best personifies although one may argue that it's not a complete tragedy. To me what Robert William Service has done is to take a piece of History and place it in a most memorable verse allowing it to be passed on for generations. Is not that what the poets of the ancient times did? They where the messengers, the news carriers and the story tellers at a time when not everyone had daily access to newspapers and books. These ancient news carriers thus put things in verse not only for their memory, but it also helped others to remember and relay as many of the facts as they could.

37 23 Reply
Gajanan Mishra 18 June 2014

strange things in midnight sun, thanks.

26 30 Reply
Emily Straney 18 June 2013

very creative and describtive. you have a talent.

32 24 Reply
C. Drollittle 26 January 2021

I just want to point out that this poem is not by Robert Frost or Robert Burns. ??

0 0 Reply
Forrest Tuffy Hennington 05 November 2020

I could feel Sam's pain, , I too dislike the cold. I had to recite only two poems in Jr high this one and Trees. I have one of Robert Service's books. " The Best of Robert Service" is full of great poems. A must read for anyone likes to read about the Yokon.

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Daniel New 23 September 2020

His most famous, and perhaps his best.

0 1 Reply
Eugenia Clement 15 May 2020

I too had to memorize this poem for English class many years ago. I think of it every time I Chanel surf and Bering sea gold is on. My kids were never exposed to it. It makes me smile with memories of times passed. ??

1 0 Reply
Tom Hanify 31 March 2020

I remember this poem well. What I don't remember is whether I memorized it in elementary or high school. In any case, I learned it in the late 1950's. It has remained with me ever since.

2 0 Reply