Noctambule – Sympathy Poems

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 lairs
Underneath the gables.

Up the old Boul’ Mich’
Climb with steps erratic.
Steady . . . how I wish
I was in my attic!
Full am I with cheer;
In my heart the joy stirs;
Couldn’t be the beer,
Must have been the oysters.

In obscene array
Garbage cans spill over;
How I wish that they
Smelled as sweet as clover!
Charing women wait;
Cafes drop their shutters;
Rats perambulate
Up and down the gutters.

Down the darkened street
Market carts are creeping;
Horse with wary feet,
Red-faced driver sleeping.
Loads of vivid greens,
Carrots, leeks, potatoes,
Cabbages and beans,
Turnips and tomatoes.

Pair of dapper chaps,
Cigarettes and sashes,
Stare at me, perhaps
Desperate Apachès.

“Needn’t bother me,
Jolly well you know it;
Parceque je suis
Quartier Latin poet.

“Give you villanelles,
Madrigals and lyrics;
Ballades and rondels,
Odes and panegyrics.
Poet pinched and poor,
Pricked by cold and hunger;
Trouble’s troubadour,
Misery’s balladmonger.”

Think how queer it is!
Every move I’m making,
Cosmic gravity’s
Center I am shaking;
Oh, how droll to feel
(As I now am feeling),
Even as I reel,
All the world is reeling.

Reeling too the stars,
Neptune and Uranus,
Jupiter and Mars,
Mercury and Venus;
Suns and moons with me,
As I’m homeward straying,
All in sympathy
Swaying, swaying, swaying.

Lord! I’ve got a head.
Well, it’s not surprising.
I must gain my bed
Ere the sun be rising;
When the merry lark
In the sky is soaring,
I’ll refuse to hark,
I’ll be snoring, snoring.

Strike a sulphur match . . .
Ha! at last my garret.
Fumble at the latch,
Close the door and bar it.
Bed, you graciously
Wait, despite my scorning . . .
So, bibaciously
Mad old world, good morning.
(By Robert William Service)

Romance – Sympathy Poems

In Paris on a morn of May
I sent a radio transalantic
To catch a steamer on the way,
But oh the postal fuss was frantic;
They sent me here, they sent me there,
They were so courteous yet so canny;
Then as I wilted in despair
A Frenchman flipped me on the fanny.

‘Twas only juts a gentle pat,
Yet oh what sympathy behind it!
I don’t let anyone do that,
But somehow then I didn’t mind it.
He seemed my worry to divine,
With kindly smile, that foreign mannie,
And as we stood in waiting line
With tender touch he tapped my fanny.

It brought a ripple of romance
Into that postal bureau dreary;
He gave me such a smiling glance
That somehow I felt gay and cheery.
For information on my case
The postal folk searched nook and cranny;
He gently tapped, with smiling face,
His reassurance on my fanny.

So I’ll go back to Tennessee,
And they will ask: “How have you spent your
Brief holiday in gay Paree?”
But I’ll not speak of my adventure.
Oh say I’m spectacled and grey,
Oh say I’m sixty and a grannie –
But say that morn of May
A Frenchman flipped me on the fanny!
(by Robert William Service)

Divine Device – Sympathy Poems

To hapless human-kind
If we could feel no pain
Of body or of mind?
Would it be for our good
If we were calloused so,
And God in mercy should
End all our woe?

I wonder and I doubt:
It is my bright belief
We should be poor without
The gift of grief.
For suffering may be
A blessing, not a bane,
And though we sorrow we
Should praise for Pain.

Aye, it’s my brave belief
That grateful we should be,
Since in the heart of grief
Is love and sympathy,
We do not weep in vain,
So let us kiss the rod,
And see in purging Pain
The Grace of God.
(by Robert William Service)

The God Of Common-Sense – Sympathy Poems

My Daddy used to wallop me for every small offense:
“Its takes a hair-brush back,” said he, “to teach kids common-sense.”
And still to-day I scarce can look a hair-brush in the face.
Without I want in sympathy to pat a tender place.
For Dad declared with unction: “Spare the brush and spoil the brat.”
The dear old man! What e’er his faults he never did do that;
And though a score of years have gone since he departed hence,
I still revere his deity, The God of Common-sense.

How often I have played the ass (Man’s universal fate),
Yet always I have saved myself before it was too late;
How often tangled with a dame – you know how these things are,
Yet always had the gumption not to carry on too far;
Remembering that fancy skirts, however high they go,
Are not to be stacked up against a bunch of hard-earned dough;
And sentiment has little weight compared with pounds and pence,
According to the gospel of the God of Common-sense.

Oh blessing on that old hair-brush my Daddy used to whack
With such benign precision on the basement of my back.
Oh blessings on his wisdom, saying: “Son, don’t play the fool,
Let prudence be your counselor and reason be your rule.
Don’t get romantic notions, always act with judgment calm,
Poetical emotions ain’t in practice worth a damn/
let solid comfort be your goal, self-interest your guide. . . .”
Then just as if to emphasize, whack! whack! the brush he plied.
And so I often wonder if my luck is Providence,
or just my humble tribute to the God of Common-sense.
(by Robert William Service)

My Picture – Sympathy Poems

I put in it, and all I knew
Of canvas-cunning and of Art,
Of tenderness and passion true.
A worshipped Master came to see;
Oh he was kind and gentle, too.
He studied it with sympathy,
And sensed what I had sought to do.

Said he: “Your paint is fresh and fair,
And I can praise it without cease;
And yet a touch just here and there
Would make of it a masterpiece.”
He took the brush from out my hand;
He touched it here, he touched it there.
So well he seemed to understand,
And momently it grew more fair.

Oh there was nothing I could say,
And there was nothing I could do.
I thanked him, and he went his way,
And then – I slashed my picture through.
For though his brush with soft caress
Had made my daub a thing divine,
Oh God! I wept with bitterness,
. . . It wasn’t mine, it wasn’t mine.
(by Robert William Service)

Window Shopper – Sympathy Poem

I stood before a candy shop
Which with a Christmas radiance shone;
I saw my parents pass and stop
To grin at me and then go on.
The sweets were heaped in gleamy rows;
On each I feasted – what a game!
Against the glass with flatted nose,
Gulping my spittle as it came;
So still I stood, and stared and dreamed,
Savouring sweetness with my eyes,
Devouring dainties till it seemed
My candy shop was paradise.

I had, I think, but five years old,
And though three-score and ten have passed,
I still recall the craintive cold,
The grimy street, the gritty blast;
And how I stared into that shop,
Its gifts so near and yet so far,
Of marzipan and toffee drop,
Of chocolate and walnut bar;
Imagining what I would buy
Amid delights so rich and rare . . .
The glass was misted with my sigh:
“If just one penny Pop could spare!”

And then when I went home to tea
Of bread and butter sparsely spread,
Oh, how my parents twitted me:
“You stood for full an hour,” they said.
“We saw you as we passed again;
Your eyes upon the sweets were glued;
Your nose was flattened to the pane,
Like someone hypnotized you stood.”
But when they laughed as at a joke,
A bitterness I could not stem
Within my little heart awoke. . . .
Oh, I have long forgiven them;
For though I know they did no own
Pennies to spare, they might, it seems
More understanding love have shown
More sympathy for those vain dreams,
Which make of me with wistful gaze
God’s Window Shopper all days.
(by Robert William Service)

Toilet Seats – Sympathy Poem

While I am emulating Keats
My brother fabrics toilet seats,
The which, they say, are works of art,
Aesthetic features of the mart;
So exquisitely are they made
With plastic of a pastel shade,
Of topaz, ivory or rose,
Inviting to serene repose.

Rajahs I’m told have seats of gold,–
(They must, I fear, be very cold).
But Tom’s have thermostatic heat,
With sympathy your grace to greet.
Like silver they are neon lit,
Making a halo as you sit:
Then lo! they play with dulset tone
A melody by Mendelssohn.

Oh were I lyrical as Yeats
I would not sing of toilet seats,
But rather serenade a star,–
Yet I must take things as they are.
For even kings must coyly own
Them as essential as a throne:
So as I tug the Muse’s teats
I envy Tom his toilet seats.
(by Robert William Service)

Sympathy – Poem by Robert William Service

My Muse is simple,–yet it’s nice
To think you don’t need to think twice
On words I write.
I reckon I’ve a common touch
And if you say I cuss too much
I answer: ‘Quite!’

I envy not the poet’s lot;
He has something I haven’t got,
Alas, I know.
But I have something maybe he
Would envy just a mite in me,–
I’m rather low.

For I am cast of common clay,
And from a ditch I fought my way,
And that is why
The while the poet scans the skies,
My gaze is grimly gutterwise,
Earthy am I.

And yet I have a gift, perhaps
Denied to proud poetic chaps
Who scoff at me;
I know the hearts of humble folk;
I too have bowed beneath the yoke:
So let my verse for them evoke
Your sympathy.
(by Robert William Service)