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A Canvas For A Crust



Aye, Montecelli, that's the name.
You may have heard of him perhaps.
Yet though he never savoured fame,
Of those impressionistic chaps,
Monet and Manet and Renoir
  He was the avatar.

He festered in a Marseilles slum,
A starving genius, god-inspired.
You'd take him for a lousy bum,
Tho' poetry of paint he lyred,
In dreamy pastels each a gem: . . .
  How people laughed at them!

He peddled paint from bar to bar;
From sordid rags a jewel shone,
A glow of joy and colour far
From filth of fortune woe-begone.
'Just twenty francs,' he shyly said,
  'To take me drunk to bed.'

Of Van Gogh and Cezanne a peer;
In dreams of ecstasy enskied,
A genius and a pioneer,
Poor, paralysed and mad he died:
Yet by all who hold Beauty dear
  May he be glorified!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robert William Service

Robert William Service was a poet and writer sometimes referred to as the Bard of the Yukon He is best-known for his writings on the Canadian North including the poems The Shooting of Dan McGrew The Law of the Yukon and The Cremation of Sam McGee His writing was so expressive that his readers took him for a hard-bitten old Klondike prospector not the later-arriving bank clerk he actually was Robert William Service was born 16 January 1874 in Preston England but also lived in Scotland before emigrating to Canada in 1894 Service went to the Yukon Territory in 1904 as a bank clerk and became famous for his poems about this region which are mostly in his first two books of poetry He wrote quite a bit of prose as well and worked as a reporter for some time but those writings are not nearly as well known as his poems He travelled around the world quite a bit and narrowly escaped from France at the beginning of the Second World War during which time he lived in Hollywood California He died 11 September 1958 in France Incidentally he played himself in a movie called The Spoilers starring John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich more…

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    "A Canvas For A Crust" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 26 Oct. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/31944/a-canvas-for-a-crust>.

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