So I followed Lisa Tomey to LivingPoetry because I was intrigued by the prompt to show gratitude to another poet. I immediately thought of Robert Service whose poetry I’ve known and related to since a youngster. This poem of his, perhaps lesser known than his ballads and odes to the North, I can relate too as well. My imitative poem of gratitude to Robert W. Service follows.
The Amateur Poet, by Robert Service
You see that sheaf of slender books
Upon the topmost shelf,
At which no browser ever looks,
Because they’re by . . . myself;
They’re neatly bound in navy blue,
But no one ever heeds;
Their print is clear and candid too,
Yet no one ever reads.
Poor wistful books! How much they cost
To me in time and gold!
I count them now as labour lost,
For none I ever sold;
No copy could I give away,
For all my friends would shrink,
And look at me as if to say:
“What waste of printer’s ink!”
And as I gaze at them on high,
Although my eyes are sad,
I cannot help but breathe a sigh
To think what joy I had –
What ecstasy as I would seek
To make my rhyme come right,
And find at last the phrase unique
Flash fulgent in my sight.
Maybe that rapture was my gain
Far more than cheap success;
So I’ll forget my striving vain,
And blot out bitterness.
Oh records of my radiant youth,
No broken heart I’ll rue,
For all my best of love and truth
Is there, alive in you.
Thank You Robert Service
Robert Service, Yukon poet,
You raised me on your words!
Even doubt, you dare here show it,
You’re read, please rest assured;
I’ve walked the land that you once tread
You inspired me, you know;
Your poems, first I ever read,
Your shared words like sourdough.
Sometimes still, when I take up pen
It’s you who shows the trail,
Leads on, into the wild again
Courting heaven and hell;
You grounded me with your meter,
Gave wings to me with rhyme;
Gave me poetry! What sweeter?
Gave courage to write mine.
Your ballads inspired children’s play,
When young I lived up north;
Further reading, you’d more to say!
I learned a poet’s force;
You wrote of war, you wrote of love,
Wrote life, great and tragic;
You brought to Earth the stars above,
Wakened me to magic.