The Porch was blazoned with geranium bloom;
Myrtle and jasmine meadows lit the lea;
With rose and violet the vale's perfume
Languished to where the hyacinthine sea
Dreamed tenderly . . . "And I must go," said he. Buy This Allposters.com
He spoke in that dim, ghostly voice of his:
"I was a singer; then the War . . . and GAS."
(I had to lean to him, no word to miss.)
"We bought this little café nigh to Grasse;
With sun and flowers my last few days will pass.
"And music too. I have my mandolin:
Say! Maybe you can strum on your guitar . . .
Come on—we two will make melodious din,
While Madame sings to us behind the bar:
You'll see how sweet Italian folk-songs are."
So he would play and I would thrum the while;
I used to go there every lovely day;
His wife would listen with a sunny smile,
And when I left: "Please come again," she'd say.
"He seems quite sad when you have gone away."
Alas! I had to leave without good-bye,
And lived in sooty cities for a year.
Oh, how my heart ached for that happy sky!
Then, then one day my café I drew near—
God! it was strange how I was gripped with fear.
So still it was; I saw no mandolin,
No gay guitar with ribbons blue and red;
Then all in black, stone-faced the wife came in . . .
I did not ask; I looked, she shook her head:
"La musique est fini," was all she said.
Born in Preston, Lancashire, England, Robert Service spent his childhood in Scotland. He migrated to Canada
in 1894, in search of adventure. He is known all over the world for his poetry on the Yukon.
During World War I, Robert Service drove and ambulance for the Canadian Red Cross and
also worked as a war correspondent for the Canadian government. Many of his war poems were published in Rhymes of a Red Cross Man, in 1916. That same year, his brother, Lieutenant Albert Service, Canadian Infantry, was killed in action in France.