#SixSentenceStory; Service

This introduction will serve as my Six Sentences this week, as I am storied out. Trust me, it would be a disservice for me to force myself to write and then force that gibberish on you, dear reader. So after these six sentences you can read on or not— the quota having been met, you are under no obligation to read more, but there are extra servings. Actually I am serving leftovers, a remake of a November 2019 post where I followed our own Sixer  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 fortunate to have crossed his path if not in time, then in place, and so first I present one of his poems (not The Cremation of Sam McGee) and then one of mine in humble imitation. As always, thank you to hostess extraordinaire Denise for the weekly serving of prompt.

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 by D. Avery

Robert Service, Yukon poet,

You’re read, please rest assured!

Even doubt, you dare here show it,

Yet raised me on your words;

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.

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;

Sometimes still, when I take up pen

It’s you who shows the trail,

Leads on, into the wild again

Courting heaven and hell.

From you I learned of garrets bare

of mining phrase and rhyme

panning for all that sparkles there

rich treasures writ sublime;

Upon my shelves your books still stand

Precious alchemic gold

When reading you I’m young again

Imagination bold.

32 thoughts on “#SixSentenceStory; Service

    • Thank you for your kind words and indulgence. I have stretched the rules before, but this seemed like maybe going too far and I almost didn’t. But then I did. And the good news is that it prompted me to revise and add to the original poem so thank you for that prompt too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you’re back and totally get that you took a break. As bold a decision as putting pen to paper. I’ve been on the edge of giving it a rest but with the prompt word service and the poet Service and this particular poem of his went ahead with this rehash revision. I am gratified by your comment. Thank you.


  1. I love that he said: “Maybe that rapture was my gain / Far more than cheap success / So I’ll forget my striving vain / And blot out bitterness.”
    And that you said: “You grounded me with your meter / Gave wings to me with rhyme / Gave me poetry! What sweeter? / Gave courage to write mine.”
    A good celebration of another poet there, and their inspiration. Just looked him up and read some of his verse, plus he had some fiction published and even an MGM film adaptation. He reminds me a little of WH Davies, a poet who has resonated with me since my teens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was very young when first I heard Service’s verse. I still remember this (based on The Shooting of Dan McGrew) from our play at that time: The lights went out/ a shot was heard/ A man was hit by a flying turd.
      Then we’d fling mud at one another.
      But inspired by a local poet!
      I was delighted by that original prompt and the opportunity to pay homage to my first (Besides Dr. Seuss)
      poet. Service’s meter was grounding because we were in the same place. Having returned East Robert Frost also resonates deeply; but you never forget your first.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I skipped your six at first, thinking it mere introduction. Then read the next and was about to chastise you when I thought I’d better read the introduction, and then it all made sense. What a great poem by Service. I can see why you were so influenced by his writing. Maybe I need to read more of it. It was lovely to read of his influence upon your own journey into poetry, which I have read, admired and often been challenged to think deeply by. A satisfying post with much to ponder. Thank you.


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