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

Reese has an Emily Dickinson poem this week.


  1. I had absolutely no idea that he was of Scottish descent. Thanks.

    1. I didn't remember it though I must have known at some point because I remember doing a paper on him in high school.