Enjoy this? Share it!

207 Works of Robert W. Service

Search Amazon for related books, downloads and more Robert W. Service

When from my fumbling hand the tired pen falls,And in the twilight weary droops my head;While to my quiet heart a still voice calls,Calls me to join my kindred of the Dead:Grant that I may, O Lord, ere rest be mine,Write to Thy praise one radiant, ringing line. For all of worth that in this […]

The Logger

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

In the moonless, misty night, with my little pipe alight,I am sitting by the camp-fire’s fading cheer;Oh, the dew is falling chill on the dim, deer-haunted hill,And the breakers in the bay are moaning drear.The toilful hours are sped, the boys are long abed,And I alone a weary vigil keep;In the sightless, sullen sky I […]

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,My den is all a cosy glow;And snug before the fire I sit,And wait to FEEL the old year go.I dedicate to solemn thoughtAmid my too-unthinking days,This sober moment, sadly fraughtWith much of blame, with little praise. Old Year! upon the Stage of TimeYou stand to bow your […]

The Ghosts

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Smith, great writer of stories, drank; found it immortalised his pen;Fused in his brain-pan, else a blank, heavens of glory now and then;Gave him the magical genius touch; God-given power to gouge out, flingFlat in your face a soul-thought — Bing!Twiddle your heart-strings in his clutch.“Bah!” said Smith, “let my body lie stripped to the […]

O dear little cabin, I’ve loved you so long,And now I must bid you good-bye!I’ve filled you with laughter, I’ve thrilled you with song,And sometimes I’ve wished I could cry.Your walls they have witnessed a weariful fight,And rung to a won Waterloo:But oh, in my triumph I’m dreary to-night —Good-bye, little cabin, to you! Your […]

A Song Of Success

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Ho! we were strong, we were swift, we were brave.Youth was a challenge, and Life was a fight.All that was best in us gladly we gave,Sprang from the rally, and leapt for the height.Smiling is Love in a foam of Spring flowers:Harden our hearts to him — on let us press!Oh, what a triumph and […]

And when I come to the dim trail-end,I who have been Life’s rover,This is all I would ask, my friend,Over and over and over: A little space on a stony hillWith never another near me,Sky o’ the North that’s vast and still,With a single star to cheer me; Star that gleams on a moss-grey stoneGraven […]

I Heed me, feed me, I am hungry, I am red-tongued with desire;Boughs of balsam, slabs of cedar, gummy fagots of the pine,Heap them on me, let me hug them to my eager heart of fire,Roaring, soaring up to heaven as a symbol and a sign.Bring me knots of sunny maple, silver birch and tamarack;Leaping, […]

The Man Who Knew

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The Dreamer visioned Life as it might be,And from his dream forthright a picture grew,A painting all the people thronged to see,And joyed therein — till came the Man Who Knew,Saying: “‘Tis bad! Why do ye gape, ye fools!He painteth not according to the schools.” The Dreamer probed Life’s mystery of woe,And in a book […]

At Thirty-Five

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Three score and ten, the psalmist saith,And half my course is well-nigh run;I’ve had my flout at dusty death,I’ve had my whack of feast and fun.I’ve mocked at those who prate and preach;I’ve laughed with any man alive;But now with sobered heart I reachThe Great Divide of Thirty-five. And looking back I must confessI’ve little […]

The Squaw Man

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The cow-moose comes to water, and the beaver’s overbold,The net is in the eddy of the stream;The teepee stars the vivid sward with russet, red and gold,And in the velvet gloom the fire’s a-gleam.The night is ripe with quiet, rich with incense of the pine;From sanctuary lake I hear the loon;The peaks are bright against […]

Home And Love

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Just Home and Love! the words are smallFour little letters unto each;And yet you will not find in allThe wide and gracious range of speechTwo more so tenderly complete:When angels talk in Heaven above,I’m sure they have no words more sweetThan Home and Love. Just Home and Love! it’s hard to guessWhich of the two […]

I’m scared of it all, God’s truth! so I am;It’s too big and brutal for me.My nerve’s on the raw and I don’t give a damnFor all the “hoorah” that I see.I’m pinned between subway and overhead train,Where automobillies swoop down:Oh, I want to go back to the timber again —I’m scared of the terrible […]

When Chewed-ear Jenkins got hitched up to Guinneyveer McGee,His flowin’ locks, ye recollect, wuz frivolous an’ free;But in old Hymen’s jack-pot, it’s a most amazin’ thing,Them flowin’ locks jest disappeared like snow-balls in the Spring;Jest seemed to wilt an’ fade away like dead leaves in the Fall,An’ left old Chewed-ear balder than a white-washed cannon […]

The Mother

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

There will be a singing in your heart,There will be a rapture in your eyes;You will be a woman set apart,You will be so wonderful and wise.You will sleep, and when from dreams you start,As of one that wakes in Paradise,There will be a singing in your heart,There will be a rapture in your eyes. […]

The clover was in blossom, an’ the year was at the June,When Flap-jack Billy hit the town, likewise O’Flynn’s saloon.The frost was on the fodder an’ the wind was growin’ keen,When Billy got to seein’ snakes in Sullivan’s shebeen. Then in meandered Deep-hole Dan, once comrade of the cup:“Oh Billy, for the love of Mike, […]

Light up your pipe again, old chum, and sit awhile with me;I’ve got to watch the bannock bake — how restful is the air!You’d little think that we were somewhere north of Sixty-three,Though where I don’t exactly know, and don’t precisely care.The man-size mountains palisade us round on every side;The river is a-flop with fish, […]

The Lost Master

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“And when I come to die,” he said,“Ye shall not lay me out in state,Nor leave your laurels at my head,Nor cause your men of speech orate;No monument your gift shall be,No column in the Hall of Fame;But just this line ye grave for me:‘He played the game.’” So when his glorious task was done,It […]

Little Moccasins

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Come out, O Little Moccasins, and frolic on the snow!Come out, O tiny beaded feet, and twinkle in the light!I’ll play the old Red River reel, you used to love it so:Awake, O Little Moccasins, and dance for me to-night! Your hair was all a gleamy gold, your eyes a corn-flower blue;Your cheeks were pink […]

The Wanderlust

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The Wanderlust has lured me to the seven lonely seas,Has dumped me on the tailing-piles of dearth;The Wanderlust has haled me from the morris chairs of ease,Has hurled me to the ends of all the earth.How bitterly I’ve cursed it, oh, the Painted Desert knows,The wraithlike heights that hug the pallid plain,The all-but-fluid silence, — […]

It’s mighty lonesome-like and drear.Above the Wild the moon rides high,And shows up sharp and needle-clearThe emptiness of earth and sky;No happy homes with love a-glow;No Santa Claus to make believe:Just snow and snow, and then more snow;It’s Christmas Eve, it’s Christmas Eve. And here am I where all things end,And Undesirables are hurled;A poor […]

Just Think!

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Just think! some night the stars will gleamUpon a cold, grey stone,And trace a name with silver beam,And lo! ’twill be your own. That night is speeding on to greetYour epitaphic rhyme.Your life is but a little beatWithin the heart of Time. A little gain, a little pain,A laugh, lest you may moan;A little blame, […]

Be honest, kindly, simple, true; Seek good in all, scorn but pretence; Whatever sorrow come to you, Believe in Life’s Beneficence! The World’s all right; serene I sit,And cease to puzzle over it.There’s much that’s mighty strange, no doubt;But Nature knows what she’s about;And in a million years or soWe’ll know more than to-day we […]

The Lunger

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Jack would laugh an’ joke all day;Never saw a lad so gay;Singin’ like a medder lark,Loaded to the Plimsoll markWith God’s sunshine was that boy;Had a strangle-holt on Joy.Held his head ‘way up in air,Left no callin’ cards on Care;Breezy, buoyant, brave and true;Sent his sunshine out to you;Cheerfulest when clouds was black —Happy Jack! […]

I know a mountain thrilling to the stars,Peerless and pure, and pinnacled with snow;Glimpsing the golden dawn o’er coral bars,Flaunting the vanisht sunset’s garnet glow;Proudly patrician, passionless, serene;Soaring in silvered steeps where cloud-surfs break;Virgin and vestal — Oh, a very Queen!And at her feet there dreams a quiet lake. My lake adores my mountain — […]

Moko, the Educated Ape is here,The pet of vaudeville, so the posters say,And every night the gaping people payTo see him in his panoply appear;To see him pad his paunch with dainty cheer,Puff his perfecto, swill champagne, and swayJust like a gentleman, yet all in play,Then bow himself off stage with brutish leer. And as […]

I I took the clock down from the shelf;“At eight,” said I, “I shoot myself.”It lacked a MINUTE of the hour,And as I waited all a-cower,A skinful of black, boding pain,Bits of my life came back again. . . . “Mother, there’s nothing more to eat — Why don’t you go out on the street? […]

Dreams Are Best

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I just think that dreams are best,Just to sit and fancy things;Give your gold no acid test,Try not how your silver rings;Fancy women pure and good,Fancy men upright and true:Fortressed in your solitude,Let Life be a dream to you. For I think that Thought is all;Truth’s a minion of the mind;Love’s ideal comes at call;As […]

To Sunnydale

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

There lies the trail to Sunnydale,Amid the lure of laughter.Oh, how can we unhappy beBeneath its leafy rafter!Each perfect hour is like a flower,Each day is like a posy.How can you say the skies are grey?You’re wrong, my friend, they’re rosy. With right good will let’s climb the hill,And leave behind all sorrow.Oh, we’ll be […]

The Quitter

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,And Death looks you bang in the eye,And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to HoyleTo cock your revolver and . . . die.But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”And self-dissolution is barred.In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy […]

She lay like a saint on her copper couch;Like an angel asleep she lay,In the stare of the ghoulish folks that slouchPast the Dead and sneak away. Then came old Jules of the sightless gaze,Who begged in the streets for bread.Each day he had come for a year of days,And groped his way to the […]

The Atavist

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

What are you doing here, Tom Thorne, on the white top-knot o’ the world,Where the wind has the cut of a naked knife and the stars are rapier keen?Hugging a smudgy willow fire, deep in a lynx robe curled,You that’s a lord’s own son, Tom Thorne — what does your madness mean? Go home, go […]

The Sceptic

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

My Father Christmas passed awayWhen I was barely seven.At twenty-one, alack-a-day,I lost my hope of heaven. Yet not in either lies the curse:The hell of it’s becauseI don’t know which loss hurt the worse —My God or Santa Claus.

The Rover

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Oh, how good it is to beFoot-loose and heart-free!Just my dog and pipe and I, underneath the vast sky;Trail to try and goal to win, white road and cool inn;Fields to lure a lad afar, clear spring and still star;Lilting feet that never tire, green dingle, fagot fire;None to hurry, none to hold, heather […]

Barb-Wire Bill

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

At dawn of day the white land lay all gruesome-like and grim,When Bill Mc’Gee he says to me: “We’ve GOT to do it, Jim.We’ve got to make Fort Liard quick. I know the river’s bad,But, oh! the little woman’s sick . . . why! don’t you savvy, lad?”And me! Well, yes, I must confess it […]

Sunshine

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Flat as a drum-head stretch the haggard snows;The mighty skies are palisades of light;The stars are blurred; the silence grows and grows;Vaster and vaster vaults the icy night.Here in my sleeping-bag I cower and pray:“Silence and night, have pity! stoop and slay.” I have not slept for many, many days.I close my eyes with […]

If you had the choice of two women to wed,(Though of course the idea is quite absurd)And the first from her heels to her dainty headWas charming in every sense of the word:And yet in the past (I grieve to state),She never had been exactly “straight”. And the second — she was beyond all cavil,A […]

The Idealist

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Oh you who have daring deeds to tell!And you who have felt Ambition’s spell!Have you heard of the louse who longed to dwellIn the golden hair of a queen?He sighed all day and he sighed all night,And no one could understand it quite,For the head of a slut is a louse’s delight,But he pined for […]

Athabaska Dick

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When the boys come out from Lac Labiche in the lure of the early Spring,To take the pay of the “Hudson’s Bay”, as their fathers did before,They are all a-glee for the jamboree, and they make the Landing ringWith a whoop and a whirl, and a “Grab your girl”, and a rip and a skip […]

Cheer

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

It’s a mighty good world, so it is, dear lass,When even the worst is said.There’s a smile and a tear, a sigh and a cheer,But better be living than dead;A joy and a pain, a loss and a gain;There’s honey and may be some gall:Yet still I declare, foul weather or fair,It’s a mighty good […]

The Junior God

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The Junior God looked from his placeIn the conning towers of heaven,And he saw the world through the span of spaceLike a giant golf-ball driven.And because he was bored, as some gods are,With high celestial mirth,He clutched the reins of a shooting star,And he steered it down to earth. The Junior God, ‘mid leaf and […]

The Nostomaniac

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

On the ragged edge of the world I’ll roam, And the home of the wolf shall be my home, And a bunch of bones on the boundless snows The end of my trail . . . who knows, who knows! I’m dreaming to-night in the fire-glow, alone in my study tower,My books battalioned around me, […]

The Mourners

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I look into the aching womb of night;I look across the mist that masks the dead;The moon is tired and gives but little light,The stars have gone to bed. The earth is sick and seems to breathe with pain;A lost wind whimpers in a mangled tree;I do not see the foul, corpse-cluttered plain,The dead I […]

My job is done; my rhymes are ranked and ready,My word-battalions marching verse by verse;Here stanza-companies are none too steady;There print-platoons are weak, but might be worse.And as in marshalled order I review them,My type-brigades, unfearful of the fray,My eyes that seek their faults are seeing through themImmortal visions of an epic day. It seems […]

I sing no idle songs of dalliance days,No dreams Elysian inspire my rhyming;I have no Celia to enchant my lays,No pipes of Pan have set my heart to chiming.I am no wordsmith dripping gems divineInto the golden chalice of a sonnet;If love songs witch you, close this book of mine,Waste no time on it. Yet […]

A Rolling Stone

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

There’s sunshine in the heart of me, My blood sings in the breeze; The mountains are a part of me, I’m fellow to the trees. My golden youth I’m squandering, Sun-libertine am I; A-wandering, a-wandering, Until the day I die. I was once, I declare, a Stone-Age man,And I roomed in the cool of a […]

“Deny your God!” they ringed me with their spears;Blood-crazed were they, and reeking from the strife;Hell-hot their hate, and venom-fanged their sneers,And one man spat on me and nursed a knife.And there was I, sore wounded and alone,I, the last living of my slaughtered band.Oh sinister the sky, and cold as stone!In one red laugh […]

Now Eddie Malone got a swell grammyfone to draw all the trade to his store;An’ sez he: “Come along for a season of song, which the like ye had niver before.”Then Dogrib, an’ Slave, an’ Yellow-knife brave, an’ Cree in his dinky canoe,Confluated near, to see an’ to hear Ed’s grammyfone make its dayboo. Then […]

Have ever you heard of the Land of Beyond,That dreams at the gates of the day?Alluring it lies at the skirts of the skies,And ever so far away;Alluring it calls: O ye the yoke galls,And ye of the trail overfond,With saddle and pack, by paddle and track,Let’s go to the Land of Beyond! Have ever […]

Missis Moriarty called last week, and says she to me, says she:“Sure the heart of me’s broken entirely now–it’s the fortunate woman you are;You’ve still got your Dinnis to cheer up your home, but me Patsy boy where is he?Lyin’ alone, cold as a stone, kilt in the weariful wahr.Oh, I’m seein’ him now as […]

My Foe

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A Belgian Priest-Soldier Speaks:– GURR! You ‘cochon’! Stand and fight!Show your mettle! Snarl and bite!Spawn of an accursed race,Turn and meet me face to face!Here amid the wreck and routLet us grip and have it out!Here where ruins rock and reelLet us settle, steel to steel!Look! Our houses, how they spitSparks from brands your friends […]

My Job

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I’ve got a little job on ‘and, the time is drawin’ nigh;At seven by the Captain’s watch I’m due to go and do it;I wants to ‘ave it nice and neat, and pleasin’ to the eye,And I ‘opes the God of soldier men will see me safely through it.Because, you see, it’s somethin’ I ‘ave […]

What do they matter, our headlong hates, when we take the toll of our Dead?Think ye our glory and gain will pay for the torrent of blood we have shed?By the cheers of our Victory will the heart of the mother be comforted? If by the Victory all we mean is a broken and brooding […]

Give me the scorn of the stars and a peak defiant; Wail of the pines and a wind with the shout of a giant; Night and a trail unknown and a heart reliant. Give me to live and love in the old, bold fashion;A soldier’s billet at night and a soldier’s ration;A heart that leaps […]

Afternoon Tea

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

As I was saying . . . (No, thank you; I never take cream with my tea;Cows weren’t allowed in the trenches–got out of the habit, y’see.)As I was saying, our Colonel leaped up like a youngster of ten:“Come on, lads!” he shouts, “and we’ll show ’em.”And he sprang to the head of the men.Then […]

* The French “Tommy”. Oh, some of us lolled in the chateau,And some of us slinked in the slum;But now we are here with a song and a cheerTo serve at the sign of the drum.They put us in trousers of scarlet,In big sloppy ulsters of blue;In boots that are flat, a box of a […]

Bill The Bomber

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The poppies gleamed like bloody pools through cotton-woolly mist;The Captain kept a-lookin’ at the watch upon his wrist;And there we smoked and squatted, as we watched the shrapnel flame;‘Twas wonnerful, I’m tellin’ you, how fast them bullets came.‘Twas weary work the waiting, though; I tried to sleep a wink,For waitin’ means a-thinkin’, and it doesn’t […]

You may talk o’ your lutes and your dulcimers fine,Your harps and your tabors and cymbals and a’,But here in the trenches jist gie me for mineThe wee penny whistle o’ Sandy McGraw.Oh, it’s: “Sandy, ma lad, will you lilt us a tune?”And Sandy is willin’ and trillin’ like mad;Sae silvery sweet that we a’ […]

My stretcher is one scarlet stain,And as I tries to scrape it clean,I tell you wot–I’m sick with painFor all I’ve ‘eard, for all I’ve seen;Around me is the ‘ellish night,And as the war’s red rim I trace,I wonder if in ‘Eaven’s height,Our God don’t turn away ‘Is Face. I don’t care ‘oose the Crime […]

Wounded

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Is it not strange? A year ago to-day,With scarce a thought beyond the hum-drum round,I did my decent job and earned my pay;Was averagely happy, I’ll be bound.Ay, in my little groove I was content,Seeing my life run smoothly to the end,With prosy days in stolid labour spent,And jolly nights, a pipe, a glass, a […]

The Coward

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

‘Ave you seen Bill’s mug in the Noos to-day?‘E’s gyned the Victoriar Cross, they say;Little Bill wot would grizzle and run away,If you ‘it ‘im a swipe on the jawr.‘E’s slaughtered the Kaiser’s men in tons;‘E’s captured one of their quick-fire guns,And ‘e ‘adn’t no practice in killin’ ‘UnsAfore ‘e went off to the war. […]

My Prisoner

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

We was in a crump-‘ole, ‘im and me;Fightin’ wiv our bayonets was we;Fightin’ ‘ard as ‘ell we was,Fightin’ fierce as fire becauseIt was ‘im or me as must be downed;‘E was twice as big as me;I was ‘arf the weight of ‘e;We was like a terryer and a ‘ound. ‘Struth! But ‘e was sich a […]

Tri-Colour

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

POPPIES, you try to tell me, glowing there in the wheat;Poppies! Ah no! You mock me: It’s blood, I tell you, it’s blood.It’s gleaming wet in the grasses; it’s glist’ning warm in the wheat;It dabbles the ferns and the clover; it brims in an angry flood;It leaps to the startled heavens; it smothers the sun; […]

A Pot Of Tea

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

You make it in your mess-tin by the brazier’s rosy gleam;You watch it cloud, then settle amber clear;You lift it with your bay’nit, and you sniff the fragrant steam;The very breath of it is ripe with cheer.You’re awful cold and dirty, and a-cursin’ of your lot;You scoff the blushin’ ‘alf of it, so rich and […]

The Revelation

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The same old sprint in the morning, boys, to the same old din and smut; Chained all day to the same old desk, down in the same old rut; Posting the same old greasy books, catching the same old train: Oh, how will I manage to stick it all, if I ever get back again? […]

Grand-Pere

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

And so when he reached my bedThe General made a stand:“My brave young fellow,” he said,“I would shake your hand.” So I lifted my arm, the right,With never a hand at all;Only a stump, a sightFit to appal. “Well, well. Now that’s too bad!That’s sorrowful luck,” he said;“But there! You give me, my lad,The left […]

Son

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

He hurried away, young heart of joy, under our Devon sky!And I watched him go, my beautiful boy, and a weary woman was I.For my hair is grey, and his was gold; he’d the best of his life to live;And I’d loved him so, and I’m old, I’m old; and he’s all I had to […]

The Black Dudeen

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Humping it here in the dug-out, Sucking me black dudeen, I’d like to say in a general way, There’s nothing like Nickyteen; There’s nothing like Nickyteen, me boys, Be it pipes or snipes or cigars; So be sure that a bloke Has plenty to smoke, If you wants him to fight your wars. When I’ve […]

My Bay’nit

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When first I left Blighty they gave me a bay’nitAnd told me it ‘ad to be smothered wiv gore;But blimey! I ‘aven’t been able to stain it,So far as I’ve gone wiv the vintage of war.For ain’t it a fraud! when a Boche and yours trulyGits into a mix in the grit and the grime,‘E […]

Carry On!

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

It’s easy to fight when everything’s right,And you’re mad with the thrill and the glory;It’s easy to cheer when victory’s near,And wallow in fields that are gory.It’s a different song when everything’s wrong,When you’re feeling infernally mortal;When it’s ten against one, and hope there is none,Buck up, little soldier, and chortle: Carry on! Carry on!There […]

Over The Parapet

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

All day long when the shells sail overI stand at the sandbags and take my chance;But at night, at night I’m a reckless rover,And over the parapet gleams Romance.Romance! Romance! How I’ve dreamed it, writingDreary old records of money and mart,Me with my head chuckful of fightingAnd the blood of vikings to thrill my heart. […]

You want me to tell you a story, a yarn of the firin’ line,Of our thin red kharki ‘eroes, out there where the bullets whine;Out there where the bombs are bustin’, and the cannons like ‘ell-doors slam–Just order another drink, boys, and I’ll tell you of Soulful Sam. Oh, Sam, he was never ‘ilarious, though […]

Only A Boche

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

We brought him in from between the lines: we’d better have let him lie;For what’s the use of risking one’s skin for a TYKE that’s going to die?What’s the use of tearing him loose under a gruelling fire,When he’s shot in the head, and worse than dead, and all messed up on the wire? However, […]

Pilgrims

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

For oh, when the war will be overWe’ll go and we’ll look for our dead;We’ll go when the bee’s on the clover,And the plume of the poppy is red:We’ll go when the year’s at its gayest,When meadows are laughing with flow’rs;And there where the crosses are greyest,We’ll seek for the cross that is ours. For […]

“Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad,On this glittering morn of May?”“I’m going to join the Colours, Dad;They’re looking for men, they say.”“But you’re only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad;You aren’t obliged to go.”“I’m seventeen and a quarter, Dad,And ever so strong, you know.” . . . . . “So you’re off to […]

No, Bill, I’m not a-spooning out no patriotic tosh(The cove be’ind the sandbags ain’t a death-or-glory cuss).And though I strafes ’em good and ‘ard I doesn’t ‘ate the Boche,I guess they’re mostly decent, just the same as most of us.I guess they loves their ‘omes and kids as much as you or me;And just the […]

On The Wire

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

O God, take the sun from the sky!It’s burning me, scorching me up.God, can’t You hear my cry?‘Water! A poor, little cup!’It’s laughing, the cursed sun!See how it swells and swellsFierce as a hundred hells!God, will it never have done?It’s searing the flesh on my bones;It’s beating with hammers redMy eyeballs into my head;It’s parching […]

Bill’s Grave

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I’m gatherin’ flowers by the wayside to lay on the grave of Bill;I’ve sneaked away from the billet, ’cause Jim wouldn’t understand;‘E’d call me a silly fat’ead, and larf till it made ‘im ill,To see me ‘ere in the cornfield, wiv a big bookay in me ‘and. For Jim and me we are rough uns, […]

Jean Desprez

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Oh ye whose hearts are resonant, and ring to War’s romance,Hear ye the story of a boy, a peasant boy of France;A lad uncouth and warped with toil, yet who, when trial came,Could feel within his soul upleap and soar the sacred flame;Could stand upright, and scorn and smite, as only heroes may:Oh, harken! Let […]

It isn’t the foe that we fear; It isn’t the bullets that whine; It isn’t the business career Of a shell, or the bust of a mine; It isn’t the snipers who seek To nip our young hopes in the bud: No, it isn’t the guns, And it isn’t the Huns– It’s the MUD, MUD, […]

Cocotte

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When a girl’s sixteen, and as poor as she’s pretty,And she hasn’t a friend and she hasn’t a home,Heigh-ho! She’s as safe in Paris cityAs a lamb night-strayed where the wild wolves roam;And that was I; oh, it’s seven years now(Some water’s run down the Seine since then),And I’ve almost forgotten the pangs and the […]

Tipperary Days

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Oh, weren’t they the fine boys! You never saw the beat of them,Singing all together with their throats bronze-bare;Fighting-fit and mirth-mad, music in the feet of them,Swinging on to glory and the wrath out there.Laughing by and chaffing by, frolic in the smiles of them,On the road, the white road, all the afternoon;Strangers in a […]

Fleurette

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(The Wounded Canadian Speaks) My leg? It’s off at the knee.Do I miss it? Well, some. You seeI’ve had it since I was born;And lately a devilish corn.(I rather chuckle with gleeTo think how I’ve fooled that corn.) But I’ll hobble around all right.It isn’t that, it’s my face.Oh I know I’m a hideous sight,Hardly […]

Funk

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When your marrer bone seems ‘oller,And you’re glad you ain’t no taller,And you’re all a-shakin’ like you ‘ad the chills;When your skin creeps like a pullet’s,And you’re duckin’ all the bullets,And you’re green as gorgonzola round the gills;When your legs seem made of jelly,And you’re squeamish in the belly,And you want to turn about and […]

Our Hero

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Flowers, only flowers–bring me dainty posies,Blossoms for forgetfulness,” that was all he said;So we sacked our gardens, violets and roses,Lilies white and bluebells laid we on his bed.Soft his pale hands touched them, tenderly caressing;Soft into his tired eyes came a little light;Such a wistful love-look, gentle as a blessing;There amid the flowers waited he […]

My Mate

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I’ve been sittin’ starin’, starin’ at ‘is muddy pair of boots,And tryin’ to convince meself it’s ‘im.(Look out there, lad! That sniper–‘e’s a dysey when ‘e shoots;‘E’ll be layin’ of you out the same as Jim.)Jim as lies there in the dug-out wiv ‘is blanket round ‘is ‘ead,To keep ‘is brains from mixin’ wiv the […]

The Convalescent

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

. . . So I walked among the willows very quietly all night;There was no moon at all, at all; no timid star alight;There was no light at all, at all; I wint from tree to tree,And I called him as his mother called, but he nivver answered me. Oh I called him all the […]

Milking Time

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

There’s a drip of honeysuckle in the deep green lane;There’s old Martin jogging homeward on his worn old wain;There are cherry petals falling, and a cuckoo calling, calling,And a score of larks (God bless ’em) . . . but it’s all pain, pain.For you see I am not really there at all, not at all;For […]

Oh the wife she tried to tell me that ’twas nothing but the thrummingOf a wood-pecker a-rapping on the hollow of a tree;And she thought that I was fooling when I said it was the drummingOf the mustering of legions, and ’twas calling unto me;‘Twas calling me to pull my freight and hop across the […]

The Red Retreat

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Tramp, tramp, the grim road, the road from Mons to Wipers (I’ve ‘ammered out this ditty with me bruised and bleedin’ feet); Tramp, tramp, the dim road–we didn’t ‘ave no pipers, And bellies that was ‘oller was the drums we ‘ad to beat. Tramp, tramp, the bad road, the bits o’ kiddies cryin’ there, The […]

“Hae ye heard whit ma auld mither’s postit tae me?It fair maks me hamesick,” says Private McPhee.“And whit did she send ye?” says Private McPhun,As he cockit his rifle and bleezed at a Hun.“A haggis! A HAGGIS! ” says Private McPhee;“The brawest big haggis I ever did see.And think! it’s the morn when fond memory […]

The Lark

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

From wrath-red dawn to wrath-red dawn,The guns have brayed without abate;And now the sick sun looks uponThe bleared, blood-boltered fields of hateAs if it loathed to rise again.How strange the hush! Yet sudden, hark!From yon down-trodden gold of grain,The leaping rapture of a lark. A fusillade of melody,That sprays us from yon trench of sky;A […]

Me and Ed and a stretcherOut on the nootral ground.(If there’s one dead corpse, I’ll betcherThere’s a ‘undred smellin’ around.)Me and Eddie O’Brian,Both of the R. A. M. C.“It’s a ‘ell of a nightFor a soul to take flight,”As Eddie remarks to me.Me and Ed crawlin’ ‘omeward,Thinkin’ our job is done,When sudden and clear,Wot do […]

I. Gold! We leapt from our benches. Gold! We sprang from our stools.Gold! We wheeled in the furrow, fired with the faith of fools.Fearless, unfound, unfitted, far from the night and the cold,Heard we the clarion summons, followed the master-lure–Gold! Men from the sands of the Sunland; men from the woods of the West;Men from […]

He was an old prospector with a vision bleared and dim. He asked me for a grubstake, and the same I gave to him. He hinted of a hidden trove, and when I made so bold To question his veracity, this is the tale he told. “I do not seek the copper streak, nor yet […]

In the little Crimson Manual it’s written plain and clearThat who would wear the scarlet coat shall say good-bye to fear;Shall be a guardian of the right, a sleuth-hound of the trail–In the little Crimson Manual there’s no such word as “fail”–Shall follow on though heavens fall, or hell’s top-turrets freeze,Half round the world, if […]

We talked of yesteryears, of trails and treasure,Of men who played the game and lost or won;Of mad stampedes, of toil beyond all measure,Of camp-fire comfort when the day was done.We talked of sullen nights by moon-dogs haunted,Of bird and beast and tree, of rod and gun;Of boat and tent, of hunting-trip enchantedBeneath the wonder […]

He’s the man from Eldorado, and he’s just arrived in town,In moccasins and oily buckskin shirt.He’s gaunt as any Indian, and pretty nigh as brown;He’s greasy, and he smells of sweat and dirt.He sports a crop of whiskers that would shame a healthy hog;Hard work has racked his joints and stooped his back;He slops along […]

Foreword

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I’ve tinkered at my bits of rhymesIn weary, woeful, waiting times;In doleful hours of battle-din,Ere yet they brought the wounded in;Through vigils of the fateful night,In lousy barns by candle-light;In dug-outs, sagging and aflood,On stretchers stiff and bleared with blood;By ragged grove, by ruined road,By hearths accurst where Love abode;By broken altars, blackened shrinesI’ve tinkered […]

My Friends

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The man above was a murderer, the man below was a thief;And I lay there in the bunk between, ailing beyond belief;A weary armful of skin and bone, wasted with pain and grief. My feet were froze, and the lifeless toes were purple and green and gray;The little flesh that clung to my bones, you […]

The Prospector

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I strolled up old Bonanza, where I staked in ninety-eight,A-purpose to revisit the old claim.I kept thinking mighty sadly of the funny ways of Fate,And the lads who once were with me in the game.Poor boys, they’re down-and-outers, and there’s scarcely one to-dayCan show a dozen colors in his poke;And me, I’m still prospecting, old […]

I will not wash my face;I will not brush my hair;I “pig” around the place–There’s nobody to care.Nothing but rock and tree;Nothing but wood and stone,Oh, God, it’s hell to beAlone, alone, alone! Snow-peaks and deep-gashed drawsCorral me in a ring.I feel as if I wasThe only living thingOn all this blighted earth;And so I […]

(With apologies to the singer of the “Song of the Banjo”.) I’m a homely little bit of tin and bone;I’m beloved by the Legion of the Lost;I haven’t got a “vox humana” tone,And a dime or two will satisfy my cost.I don’t attempt your high-falutin’ flights;I am more or less uncertain on the key;But I […]

One of the Down and Out–that’s me. Stare at me well, ay, stare!Stare and shrink–say! you wouldn’t think that I was a millionaire.Look at my face, it’s crimped and gouged–one of them death-mask things;Don’t seem the sort of man, do I, as might be the pal of kings?Slouching along in smelly rags, a bleary-eyed, no-good […]

There was Claw-fingered Kitty and Windy Ike living the life of shame,When unto them in the Long, Long Night came the man-who-had-no-name;Bearing his prize of a black fox pelt, out of the Wild he came. His cheeks were blanched as the flume-head foam when the brown spring freshets flow;Deep in their dark, sin-calcined pits were […]

“The North has got him.” –Yukonism. I tried to refine that neighbor of mine, honest to God, I did.I grieved for his fate, and early and late I watched over him like a kid.I gave him excuse, I bore his abuse in every way that I could;I swore to prevail; I camped on his trail;I […]

I took a contract to bury the body of blasphemous Bill MacKie,Whenever, wherever or whatsoever the manner of death he die–Whether he die in the light o’ day or under the peak-faced moon;In cabin or dance-hall, camp or dive, mucklucks or patent shoon;On velvet tundra or virgin peak, by glacier, drift or draw;In muskeg hollow […]

This is the tale that was told to me by the man with the crystal eye, As I smoked my pipe in the camp-fire light, and the Glories swept the sky; As the Northlights gleamed and curved and streamed, and the bottle of “hooch” was dry. A man once aimed that my life be shamed, […]

‘Twas up in a land long famed for gold, where women were far and rare,Tellus, the smith, had taken to wife a maiden amazingly fair;Tellus, the brawny worker in iron, hairy and heavy of hand,Saw her and loved her and bore her away from the tribe of a Southern land;Deeming her worthy to queen his […]

Now wouldn’t you expect to find a man an awful crankThat’s staked out nigh three hundred claims, and every one a blank;That’s followed every fool stampede, and seen the rise and fallOf camps where men got gold in chunks and he got none at all;That’s prospected a bit of ground and sold it for a […]

The Sightless Man

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Out of the night a crash,A roar, a rampart of light;A flame that leaped like a lash,Searing forever my sight;Out of the night a flash,Then, oh, forever the Night! Here in the dark I sit,I who so loved the sun;Supple and strong and fit,In the dark till my days be done;Aye, that’s the hell of […]

The Legless Man

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

( The Dark Side ) My mind goes back to Fumin Wood, and how we stuck it out, Eight days of hunger, thirst and cold, mowed down by steel and flame; Waist-deep in mud and mad with woe, with dead men all about, We fought like fiends and waited for relief that never came. Eight […]

The Faceless Man

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I’m dead.Officially I’m dead. Their hope is past.How long I stood as missing! Now, at lastI’m dead.Look in my face–no likeness can you see,No tiny trace of him they knew as “me”.How terrible the change!Even my eyes are strange.So keyed are they to pain,That if I chanced to meetMy mother in the streetShe’d look at […]

We’ve finished up the filthy war;We’ve won what we were fighting for . . .(Or have we? I don’t know).But anyway I have my wish:I’m back upon the old Boul’ Mich’,And how my heart’s aglow!Though in my coat’s an empty sleeve,Ah! do not think I ever grieve(The pension for it, I believe,Will keep me on […]

My rhymes are rough, and often in my rhymingI’ve drifted, silver-sailed, on seas of dream,Hearing afar the bells of Elfland chiming,Seeing the groves of Arcadie agleam. I was the thrall of Beauty that rejoicesFrom peak snow-diademed to regal star;Yet to mine aerie ever pierced the voices,The pregnant voices of the Things That Are. The Here, […]

Men of the High North, the wild sky is blazing;Islands of opal float on silver seas;Swift splendors kindle, barbaric, amazing;Pale ports of amber, golden argosies.Ringed all around us the proud peaks are glowing;Fierce chiefs in council, their wigwam the sky;Far, far below us the big Yukon flowing,Like threaded quicksilver, gleams to the eye. Men of […]

His Boys

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“I’m going, Billy, old fellow. Hist, lad! Don’t make any noise.There’s Boches to beat all creation, the pitch of a bomb away.I’ve fixed the note to your collar, you’ve got to get back to my Boys,You’ve got to get back to warn ’em before it’s the break of day.” The order came to go forward […]

The Booby-Trap

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I’m crawlin’ out in the mangolds to bury wot’s left o’ Joe–Joe, my pal, and a good un (God! ‘ow it rains and rains).I’m sick o’ seein’ him lyin’ like a ‘eap o’ offal, and soI’m crawlin’ out in the beet-field to bury ‘is last remains. ‘E might ‘a bin makin’ munitions–‘e ‘adn’t no need […]

Bonehead Bill

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I wonder ‘oo and wot ‘e was,That ‘Un I got so slick.I couldn’t see ‘is face becauseThe night was ‘ideous thick.I just made out among the blackA blinkin’ wedge o’ white;Then biff! I guess I got ‘im crack —The man I killed last night. I wonder if account o’ meSome wench will go unwed,And ‘eaps […]

Michael

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“There’s something in your face, Michael, I’ve seen it all the day;There’s something quare that wasn’t there when first ye wint away. . . .” “It’s just the Army life, mother, the drill, the left and right,That puts the stiffinin’ in yer spine and locks yer jaw up tight. . . .” “There’s something in […]

Victory Stuff

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

What d’ye think, lad; what d’ye think,As the roaring crowds go by?As the banners flare and the brasses blareAnd the great guns rend the sky?As the women laugh like they’d all gone mad,And the champagne glasses clink:Oh, you’re grippin’ me hand so tightly, lad,I’m a-wonderin’: what d’ye think? D’ye think o’ the boys we used […]

Was It You?

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Hullo, young Jones! with your tie so gayAnd your pen behind your ear;Will you mark my cheque in the usual way?For I’m overdrawn, I fear.”Then you look at me in a manner bland,As you turn your ledger’s leaves,And you hand it back with a soft white hand,And the air of a man who grieves. . […]

I saw three wounded of the war: And the first had lost his eyes; And the second went on wheels and had No legs below the thighs; And the face of the third was featureless, And his mouth ran cornerwise. So I made a rhyme about each one, And this is how my fancies run.

A Casualty

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

That boy I took in the car last night,With the body that awfully sagged away,And the lips blood-crisped, and the eyes flame-bright,And the poor hands folded and cold as clay–Oh, I’ve thought and I’ve thought of him all the day. For the weary old doctor says to me:“He’ll only last for an hour or so.Both […]

What was the blackest sight to meOf all that campaign?A naked woman tied to a tree With jagged holes where her breasts should be, Rotting there in the rain. On we pressed to the battle fray,Dogged and dour and spent.Sudden I heard my Captain say:” Voila! Kultur has passed this way,And left us a monument.” […]

Now Kelly was no fighter;He loved his pipe and glass;An easygoing blighter,Who lived in Montparnasse.But ‘mid the tavern tattleHe heard some guinney say:“When France goes forth to battle,The Legion leads the way. “The scourings of creation, Of every sin and station, The men who’ve known damnation, Are picked to lead the way.” Well, Kelly joined […]

The Three Tommies

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

That Barret, the painter of pictures, what feeling for color he had!And Fanning, the maker of music, such melodies mirthful and mad!And Harley, the writer of stories, so whimsical, tender and glad! To hark to their talk in the trenches, high heart unfolding to heart,Of the day when the war would be over, and each […]

The Wonderer

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I wish that I could understandThe moving marvel of my Hand;I watch my fingers turn and twist,The supple bending of my wrist,The dainty touch of finger-tip,The steel intensity of grip;A tool of exquisite design,With pride I think: “It’s mine! It’s mine!” Then there’s the wonder of my Eyes,Where hills and houses, seas and skies,In waves […]

The Twa Jocks

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Says Bauldy MacGreegor frae Gleska tae Hecky MacCrimmon frae Skye:“That’s whit I hate maist aboot fechtin’–it makes ye sae deevilish dry;Noo jist hae a keek at yon ferm-hoose them Gairmans are poundin’ sae fine,Weel, think o’ it, doon in the dunnie there’s bottles and bottles o’ wine.A’ hell’s fairly belchin’ oot yonner, but oh, lad, […]

Oh, It Is Good

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Oh, it is good to drink and sup,And then beside the kindly fireTo smoke and heap the faggots up,And rest and dream to heart’s desire. Oh, it is good to ride and run,To roam the greenwood wild and free;To hunt, to idle in the sun,To leap into the laughing sea. Oh, it is good with […]

I have some friends, some worthy friends,And worthy friends are rare:These carpet slippers on my feet,That padded leather chair;This old and shabby dressing-gown,So well the worse of wear. I have some friends, some honest friends,And honest friends are few;My pipe of briar, my open fire,A book that’s not too new;My bed so warm, the nights […]

The Comforter

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

As I sat by my baby’s bedThat’s open to the sky,There fluttered round and round my headA radiant butterfly. And as I wept–of hearts that acheThe saddest in the land–It left a lily for my sake,And lighted on my hand. I watched it, oh, so quietly,And though it rose and flew,As if it fain would […]

The Other One

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Gather around me, children dear;The wind is high and the night is cold;Closer, little ones, snuggle near;Let’s seek a story of ages old;A magic tale of a bygone day,Of lovely ladies and dragons dread;Come, for you’re all so tired of play,We’ll read till it’s time to go to bed.” So they all are glad, and […]

Poor Peter

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Blind Peter Piper used to playAll up and down the city;I’d often meet him on my way,And throw a coin for pity.But all amid his sparkling tonesHis ear was quick as anyTo catch upon the cobble-stonesThe jingle of my penny. And as upon a day that shoneHe piped a merry measure:“How well you play!” I […]

Catastrophe

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Brittany, August 14, 1914. And now I fear I must write in another strain. Up to this time I have been too happy. I have existed in a magic Bohemia, largely of my own making. Hope, faith, enthusiasm have been mine. Each day has had its struggle, its failure, its triumph. However, that is all […]

The Wistful One

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I sought the trails of South and North,I wandered East and West;But pride and passion drove me forthAnd would not let me rest. And still I seek, as still I roam,A snug roof overhead;Four walls, my own; a quiet home. . . .“You’ll have it– when you’re dead.”

If you had a friend strong, simple, true,Who knew your faults and who understood;Who believed in the very best of you,And who cared for you as a father would;Who would stick by you to the very end,Who would smile however the world might frown:I’m sure you would try to please your friend,You never would think […]

The Spirit of the Unborn Babe peered through the window-pane,Peered through the window-pane that glowed like beacon in the night;For, oh, the sky was desolate and wild with wind and rain;And how the little room was crammed with coziness and light!Except the flirting of the fire there was no sound at all;The Woman sat beside […]

Finistere

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Hurrah! I’m off to Finistere, to Finistere, to Finistere;My satchel’s swinging on my back, my staff is in my hand;I’ve twenty louis in my purse, I know the sun and sea are there,And so I’m starting out to-day to tramp the golden land.I’ll go alone and glorying, with on my lips a song of joy;I’ll […]

The Petit Vieux

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Sow your wild oats in your youth,” so we’re always told;But I say with deeper sooth: “Sow them when you’re old.”I’ll be wise till I’m about seventy or so:Then, by Gad! I’ll blossom out as an ancient beau. I’ll assume a dashing air, laugh with loud Ha! ha! . . .How my grandchildren will stare […]

Old David Smail

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

He dreamed away his hours in school;He sat with such an absent air,The master reckoned him a fool,And gave him up in dull despair. When other lads were making hayYou’d find him loafing by the stream;He’d take a book and slip away,And just pretend to fish . . . and dream. His brothers passed him […]

My Masterpiece

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

It’s slim and trim and bound in blue;Its leaves are crisp and edged with gold;Its words are simple, stalwart too;Its thoughts are tender, wise and bold.Its pages scintillate with wit;Its pathos clutches at my throat:Oh, how I love each line of it!That Little Book I Never Wrote. In dreams I see it praised and prizedBy […]

My Hour

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Day after day behold me plyingMy pen within an office drear;The dullest dog, till homeward hieing,Then lo! I reign a king of cheer.A throne have I of padded leather,A little court of kiddies three,A wife who smiles whate’er the weather,A feast of muffins, jam and tea. The table cleared, a romping battle,A fairy tale, a […]

My Book

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Before I drink myself to death,God, let me finish up my Book!At night, I fear, I fight for breath,And wake up whiter than a spook;And crawl off to a bistro near,And drink until my brain is clear. Rare Absinthe! Oh, it gives me strengthTo write and write; and so I spendDay after day, until at […]

Brave Thackeray has trolled of days when he was twenty-one,And bounded up five flights of stairs, a gallant garreteer;And yet again in mellow vein when youth was gaily run,Has dipped his nose in Gascon wine, and told of Forty Year.But if I worthy were to sing a richer, rarer time,I’d tune my pipes before the […]

Teddy Bear

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

O Teddy Bear! with your head awryAnd your comical twisted smile,You rub your eyes–do you wonder whyYou’ve slept such a long, long while?As you lay so still in the cupboard dim,And you heard on the roof the rain,Were you thinking . . . what has become of him ?And when will he play again? Do […]

The Walkers

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

( He speaks. ) Walking, walking, oh, the joy of walking!Swinging down the tawny lanes with head held high;Striding up the green hills, through the heather stalking,Swishing through the woodlands where the brown leaves lie;Marveling at all things–windmills gaily turning,Apples for the cider-press, ruby-hued and gold;Tails of rabbits twinkling, scarlet berries burning,Wedge of geese high-flying […]

I Let others sing of gold and gear, the joy of being rich;But oh, the days when I was poor, a vagrant in a ditch!When every dawn was like a gem, so radiant and rare,And I had but a single coat, and not a single care;When I would feast right royally on bacon, bread and […]

My Neighbors

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

To rest my fagged brain now and then,When wearied of my proper labors,I lay aside my lagging penAnd get to thinking on my neighbors;For, oh, around my garret denThere’s woe and poverty a-plenty,And life’s so interesting whenA lad is only two-and-twenty. Now, there’s that artist gaunt and wan,A little card his door adorning;It reads: “Je […]

He gives me such a bold and curious look,That young American across the way,As if he’d like to put me in a book(Fancies himself a poet, so they say.)Ah well! He’ll make no “document” of me.I lock my door. Ha! ha! Now none shall see. . . . Pictures, just pictures piled from roof to […]

I’m one of these haphazard chapsWho sit in cafes drinking;A most improper taste, perhaps,Yet pleasant, to my thinking.For, oh, I hate discord and strife;I’m sadly, weakly human;And I do think the best of lifeIs wine and song and woman. Now, there’s that youngster on my rightWho thinks himself a poet,And so he toils from morn […]

Three gentlemen live close beside me–A painter of pictures bizarre,A poet whose virtues might guide me,A singer who plays the guitar;And there on my lintel is Cupid;I leave my door open, and yetThese gentlemen, aren’t they stupid!They never make love to Babette. I go to the shop every morning;I work with my needle and thread;Silk, […]

I look at no one, me;I pass them on the stair;Shadows! I don’t see;Shadows! everywhere.Haunting, taunting, staring, glaring,Shadows! I don’t care.Once my room I gainThen my life begins.Shut the door on pain;How the Devil grins!Grin with might and main;Grin and grin in vain;Here’s where Heav’n begins:Cocaine! Cocaine! A whiff! Ah, that’s the thing.How it makes […]

The Philanderer

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Oh, have you forgotten those afternoonsWith riot of roses and amber skies,When we thrilled to the joy of a million Junes,And I sought for your soul in the deeps of your eyes?I would love you, I promised, forever and aye,And I meant it too; yet, oh, isn’t it odd?When we met in the Underground to-dayI […]

Clorinda met me on the wayAs I came from the train;Her face was anything but gay,In fact, suggested pain.“Oh hubby, hubby dear!” she cried,“I’ve awful news to tell. . . .”“What is it, darling?” I replied;“Your mother–is she well?” “Oh no! oh no! it is not that,It’s something else,” she wailed,My heart was beating pit-a-pat,My […]

The Pencil Seller

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A pencil, sir; a penny–won’t you buy?I’m cold and wet and tired, a sorry plight;Don’t turn your back, sir; take one just to try;I haven’t made a single sale to-night.Oh, thank you, sir; but take the pencil too;I’m not a beggar, I’m a business man.Pencils I deal in, red and black and blue;It’s hard, but […]

I dreamed I saw three demi-gods who in a cafe sat,And one was small and crapulous, and one was large and fat;And one was eaten up with vice and verminous at that. The first he spoke of secret sins, and gems and perfumes rare;And velvet cats and courtesans voluptuously fair:“Who is the Sybarite?” I asked. […]

Fi-Fi In Bed

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Up into the sky I stare;All the little stars I see;And I know that God is thereO, how lonely He must be! Me, I laugh and leap all day,Till my head begins to nod;He’s so great, He cannot play:I am glad I am not God. Poor kind God upon His throne,Up there in the sky […]

We’re taking Marie Toro to her home in Pere-La-Chaise;We’re taking Marie Toro to her last resting-place.Behold! her hearse is hung with wreaths till everything is hidExcept the blossoms heaping high upon her coffin lid.A week ago she roamed the street, a draggle and a slut,A by-word of the Boulevard and everybody’s butt;A week ago she […]

The Auction Sale

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Her little head just topped the window-sill;She even mounted on a stool, maybe;She pressed against the pane, as children will,And watched us playing, oh so wistfully!And then I missed her for a month or more,And idly thought: “She’s gone away, no doubt,”Until a hearse drew up beside the door . . .I saw a tiny […]

Golden Days

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Another day of toil and strife,Another page so white,Within that fateful Log of LifeThat I and all must write;Another page without a stainTo make of as I may,That done, I shall not see againUntil the Judgment Day. Ah, could I, could I backward turnThe pages of that Book,How often would I blench and burn!How often […]

It’s good the great green earth to roam,Where sights of awe the soul inspire;But oh, it’s best, the coming home,The crackle of one’s own hearth-fire!You’ve hob-nobbed with the solemn Past;You’ve seen the pageantry of kings;Yet oh, how sweet to gain at lastThe peace and rest of Little Things! Perhaps you’re counted with the Great;You strain […]

He’s yonder, on the terrace of the Cafe de la Paix,The little wizened Spanish man, I see him every day.He’s sitting with his Pernod on his customary chair;He’s staring at the passers with his customary stare.He never takes his piercing eyes from off that moving throng,That current cosmopolitan meandering along:Dark diplomats from Martinique, pale Rastas […]

The Wee Shop

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

She risked her all, they told me, bravely sinkingThe pinched economies of thirty years;And there the little shop was, meek and shrinking,The sum of all her dreams and hopes and fears.Ere it was opened I would see them in it,The gray-haired dame, the daughter with her crutch;So fond, so happy, hoarding every minute,Like artists, for […]

The Release

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

To-day within a grog-shop nearI saw a newly captured linnet,Who beat against his cage in fear,And fell exhausted every minute;And when I asked the fellow thereIf he to sell the bird were willing,He told me with a careless airThat I could have it for a shilling. And so I bought it, cage and all(Although I […]

She was a Philistine spick and span,He was a bold Bohemian.She had the mode, and the last at that;He had a cape and a brigand hat.She was so riant and chic and trim;He was so shaggy, unkempt and grim.On the rue de la Paix she was wont to shine;The rue de la Gaite was more […]

Because my overcoat’s in pawn,I choose to take my glassWithin a little bistro onThe rue du Montparnasse;The dusty bins with bottles shine,The counter’s lined with zinc,And there I sit and drink my wine,And think and think and think. I think of hoary old Stamboul,Of Moslem and of Greek,Of Persian in coat of wool,Of Kurd and […]

The Sewing-Girl

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The humble garret where I dwellIs in that Quarter called the Latin;It isn’t spacious–truth to tell,There’s hardly room to swing a cat in.But what of that! It’s there I fightFor food and fame, my Muse inviting,And all the day and half the nightYou’ll find me writing, writing, writing. Now, it was in the month of […]

Lucille

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Of course you’ve heard of the Nancy Lee, and how she sailed awayOn her famous quest of the Arctic flea, to the wilds of Hudson’s Bay?For it was a foreign Prince’s whim to collect this tiny cuss,And a golden quid was no more to him than a copper to coves like us.So we sailed away […]

On The Boulevard

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Oh, it’s pleasant sitting here,Seeing all the people pass;You beside your bock of beer,I behind my demi-tasse.Chatting of no matter what.You the Mummer, I the Bard;Oh, it’s jolly, is it not?–Sitting on the Boulevard. More amusing than a book,If a chap has eyes to see;For, no matter where I look,Stories, stories jump at me.Moving tales […]

The Tramps

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Can you recall, dear comrade, when we tramped God’s land together,And we sang the old, old Earth-song, for our youth was very sweet;When we drank and fought and lusted, as we mocked at tie and tether,Along the road to Anywhere, the wide world at our feet — Along the road to Anywhere, when each day […]

You who have lived in the land,You who have trusted the trail,You who are strong to withstand,You who are swift to assail:Songs have I sung to beguile, Vintage of desperate years, Hard as a harlot’s smile, Bitter as unshed tears. Little of joy or mirth,Little of ease I sing;Sagas of men of earthHumanly suffering,Such as […]

Facility

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

So easy ’tis to make a rhyme,That did the world but know it,Your coachman might Parnassus climb,Your butler be a poet. Then, oh, how charming it would beIf, when in haste hystericYou called the page, you learned that heWas grappling with a lyric. Or else what rapture it would yield,When cook sent up the salad,To […]

Lone amid the cafe’s cheer,Sad of heart am I to-night;Dolefully I drink my beer,But no single line I write.There’s the wretched rent to pay,Yet I glower at pen and ink:Oh, inspire me, Muse, I pray,It is later than you think! Hello! there’s a pregnant phrase.Bravo! let me write it down;Hold it with a hopeful gaze,Gauge […]

Noctambule

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Zut! it’s two o’clock.See! the lights are jumping.Finish up your bock,Time we all were humping.Waiters stack the chairs,Pile them on the tables;Let us to our lairsUnderneath the gables. Up the old Boul’ Mich’Climb with steps erratic.Steady . . . how I wishI was in my attic!Full am I with cheer;In my heart the joy stirs;Couldn’t […]

Comfort

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Say! You’ve struck a heap of trouble —Bust in business, lost your wife;No one cares a cent about you,You don’t care a cent for life;Hard luck has of hope bereft you,Health is failing, wish you’d die —Why, you’ve still the sunshine left youAnd the big, blue sky. Sky so blue it makes you wonderIf it’s […]

Moon Song

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A child saw in the morning skiesThe dissipated-looking moon,And opened wide her big blue eyes,And cried: “Look, look, my lost balloon!”And clapped her rosy hands with glee:“Quick, mother! Bring it back to me.” A poet in a lilied pondEspied the moon’s reflected charms,And ravished by that beauty blonde,Leapt out to clasp her in his arms.And […]

Insomnia

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Heigh ho! to sleep I vainly try;Since twelve I haven’t closed an eye,And now it’s three, and as I lie,From Notre Dame to St. DenisThe bells of Paris chime to me;“You’re young,” they say, “and strong and free.” I do not turn with sighs and groansTo ease my limbs, to rest my bones,As if my […]

The Harpy

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

There was a woman, and she was wise; woefully wise was she;She was old, so old, yet her years all told were but a score and three;And she knew by heart, from finish to start, the Book of Iniquity. There is no hope for such as I on earth, nor yet in Heaven;Unloved I live, […]

Alas! upon some starry height,The Gods of Excellence to please,This hand of mine will never smiteThe Harp of High Serenities.Mere minstrel of the street am I,To whom a careless coin you fling;But who, beneath the bitter sky,Blue-lipped, yet insolent of eye,Can shrill a song of Spring;A song of merry mansard days,The cheery chimney-tops among;Of rolics […]

A pistol shot rings round and round the world;In pitiful defeat a warrior lies.A last defiance to dark Death is hurled,A last wild challenge shocks the sunlit skies.Alone he falls, with wide, wan, woeful eyes:Eyes that could smile at death — could not face shame. Alone, alone he paced his narrow room,In the bright sunshine […]

My Garret

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Here is my Garret up five flights of stairs;Here’s where I deal in dreams and ply in fancies,Here is the wonder-shop of all my wares,My sounding sonnets and my red romances.Here’s where I challenge Fate and ring my rhymes,And grope at glory–aye, and starve at times. Here is my Stronghold: stout of heart am I,Greeting […]

Julot The Apache

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

You’ve heard of Julot the apache, and Gigolette, his mome. . . .Montmartre was their hunting-ground, but Belville was their home.A little chap just like a boy, with smudgy black mustache,–Yet there was nothing juvenile in Julot the apache.From head to heel as tough as steel, as nimble as a cat,With every trick of twist […]

An angel was tired of heaven, as he lounged in the golden street;His halo was tilted sideways, and his harp lay mute at his feet;So the Master stooped in His pity, and gave him a pass to go,For the space of a moon, to the earth-world, to mix with the men below. He doffed his […]

We couldn’t sit and study for the law;The stagnation of a bank we couldn’t stand;For our riot blood was surging, and we didn’t need much urgingTo excitements and excesses that are banned.So we took to wine and drink and other things,And the devil in us struggled to be free;Till our friends rose up in wrath, […]

O Tavern of the Golden Snail!Ten sous have I, so I’ll regale;Ten sous your amber brew to sip(Eight for the bock and two the tip),And so I’ll sit the evening long,And smoke my pipe and watch the throng,The giddy crowd that drains and drinks,I’ll watch it quiet as a sphinx;And who among them all shall […]

There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,A race that can’t stay still;So they break the hearts of kith and kin,And they roam the world at will.They range the field and they rove the flood,And they climb the mountain’s crest;Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,And they don’t know how to rest. If […]

Music In The Bush

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

O’er the dark pines she sees the silver moon,And in the west, all tremulous, a star;And soothing sweet she hears the mellow tuneOf cow-bells jangled in the fields afar. Quite listless, for her daily stent is done,She stands, sad exile, at her rose-wreathed door,And sends her love eternal with the sunThat goes to gild the […]

This is the pay-day up at the mines, when the bearded brutes come down;There’s money to burn in the streets to-night,so I’ve sent my klooch to town,With a haggard face and a ribband of red entwined in her hair of brown. And I know at the dawn she’ll come reeling homewith the bottles, one, two, […]

There’s a four-pronged buck a-swinging in the shadow of my cabin,And it roamed the velvet valley till to-day;But I tracked it by the river, and I trailed it in the cover,And I killed it on the mountain miles away.Now I’ve had my lazy supper, and the level sun is gleamingOn the water where the silver […]

When a man gits on his uppers in a hard-pan sort of town,An’ he ain’t got nothin’ comin’ an’ he can’t afford ter eat,An’ he’s in a fix for lodgin’ an’ he wanders up an’ down,An’ you’d fancy he’d been boozin’, he’s so locoed ’bout the feet;When he’s feelin’ sneakin’ sorry an’ his belt is […]

The Younger Son

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

If you leave the gloom of London and you seek a glowing land,Where all except the flag is strange and new,There’s a bronzed and stalwart fellow who will grip you by the hand,And greet you with a welcome warm and true;For he’s your younger brother, the one you sent awayBecause there wasn’t room for him […]

The cruel war was over — oh, the triumph was so sweet!We watched the troops returning, through our tears;There was triumph, triumph, triumph down the scarlet glittering street,And you scarce could hear the music for the cheers.And you scarce could see the house-tops for the flags that flew between;The bells were pealing madly to the […]

When the long, long day is over, and the Big Boss gives me my pay,I hope that it won’t be hell-fire, as some of the parsons say.And I hope that it won’t be heaven, with some of the parsons I’ve met —All I want is just quiet, just to rest and forget.Look at my face, […]

Grin

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

If you’re up against a bruiser and you’re getting knocked about —Grin.If you’re feeling pretty groggy, and you’re licked beyond a doubt —Grin.Don’t let him see you’re funking, let him know with every clout,Though your face is battered to a pulp, your blooming heart is stout;Just stand upon your pins until the beggar knocks you […]

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 […]

A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,And watching his luck was his light-o’-love, the lady that’s known as Lou. When out of the night, which was fifty below, […]

My Madonna

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I haled me a woman from the street,Shameless, but, oh, so fair!I bade her sit in the model’s seatAnd I painted her sitting there. I hid all trace of her heart unclean;I painted a babe at her breast;I painted her as she might have beenIf the Worst had been the Best. She laughed at my […]

The Reckoning

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

It’s fine to have a blow-out in a fancy restaurant,With terrapin and canvas-back and all the wine you want;To enjoy the flowers and music, watch the pretty women pass,Smoke a choice cigar, and sip the wealthy water in your glass.It’s bully in a high-toned joint to eat and drink your fill,But it’s quite another matter […]

Unforgotten

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I know a garden where the lilies gleam,And one who lingers in the sunshine there;She is than white-stoled lily far more fair,And oh, her eyes are heaven-lit with dream! I know a garret, cold and dark and drear,And one who toils and toils with tireless pen,Until his brave, sad eyes grow weary — thenHe seeks […]

Quatrains

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

One said: Thy life is thine to make or mar,To flicker feebly, or to soar, a star;It lies with thee — the choice is thine, is thine,To hit the ties or drive thy auto-car. I answered Her: The choice is mine — ah, no!We all were made or marred long, long ago.The parts are written; […]

This is the law of the Yukon, and ever she makes it plain:“Send not your foolish and feeble; send me your strong and your sane —Strong for the red rage of battle; sane for I harry them sore;Send me men girt for the combat, men who are grit to the core;Swift as the panther in […]

This is the song of the parson’s son, as he squats in his shack alone, On the wild, weird nights, when the Northern Lights shoot up from the frozen zone, And it’s sixty below, and couched in the snow the hungry huskies moan: “I’m one of the Arctic brotherhood, I’m an old-time pioneer.I came with […]

Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there’s nothing else to gaze on,Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?Have you swept the visioned valleywith the green stream streaking through it,Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?Have you strung […]

There’s a cry from out the loneliness — oh, listen, Honey, listen!Do you hear it, do you fear it, you’re a-holding of me so?You’re a-sobbing in your sleep, dear, and your lashes, how they glisten —Do you hear the Little Voices all a-begging me to go? All a-begging me to leave you. Day and night […]

The Lone Trail

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Ye who know the Lone Trail fain would follow it, Though it lead to glory or the darkness of the pit. Ye who take the Lone Trail, bid your love good-by; The Lone Trail, the Lone Trail follow till you die. The trails of the world be countless, and most of the trails be tried;You […]

The lonely sunsets flare forlornDown valleys dreadly desolate;The lordly mountains soar in scornAs still as death, as stern as fate. The lonely sunsets flame and die; The giant valleys gulp the night; The monster mountains scrape the sky, Where eager stars are diamond-bright. So gaunt against the gibbous moon,Piercing the silence velvet-piled,A lone wolf howls […]