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A Poem for a Thursday #66

Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

Robert Service was born in England, grew up in Scotland, and sailed for the Yukon Wilderness in 1894. He was a prolific poet and became known as the "bard of the Yukon. He was a correspondent during the Balkan Wars for the Toronto Star and an ambulance driver during World War I. His rhythmic, story-telling poetry was very popular.

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 Hoyle
To cock your revolver and...die.
But the Code of a Man says:  "Fight if you can,"
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it's easy to blow...
It's the hell-served-for-breakfast that's hard.

"You're sick of the game!" Well, now, that's a shame.
You're young and you're brave and you're bright.
"You've had a raw deal! I know--but don't squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It's the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don't be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it's so easy to quit:
It's the keeping-your-chin-up that's hard.

It's easy to cry that you're beaten--and die;
It's easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope's out of sight--
Why, that's the best game of all!
And though you come out of each grueling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try--it's dead easy to die,
It's the keeping-on-living that's hard.

The Quitter
Robert Service

Things That Make Me Happy

Books, stacks of books all around me so I always have plenty to choose from.

Second-hand bookshops with plenty of treasures to be unearthed.

Thrift stores for the same reason.


Waking up on the first morning of a vacation with plenty of time in front of me.

A new, pretty notebook.

Fountain pens.

Baking cookies.

Walking on the beach.

A hug from one of my kids.

A hug from my husband.

Occasionally, a few hours home alone.

Writing something I am kind of, a little bit, maybe, happy with.

Listening to music in the car with my daughter.

Walking around a city where no one knows me.


Talking to an old friend who always understands.

Taking photographs.


A week at our favorite farmhouse in New York.

Being driven to helpless laughter by my son who can talk circles around me.

Books. Did I mention the books?

A Poem for a Thursday #65

Photo by Federico Respini on Unsplash
Willa Cather was an American author who wrote novels about frontier life on the Great Plains. She grew up from the age of ten in Nebraska where she lived among European immigrants. Her books portray the lives and cultures of the people she lived among. For many years she was dismissed as a regional author but she is now appreciated for her nuanced writing and the descriptions she provides of immigrant life.

A crimson fire that vanquishes the stars;
A pungent odor from the dusty sage;
A sudden stirring of the huddled herds;
A breaking of the distant table-lands
Through purple mists ascending, and the flare
Of water ditches silver in the light;
A swift, bright lance hurled low across the world;
A sudden sickness for the hills of home. 

Prairie Dawn
Willa Cather